Central bankers Debating the Limits of Power in Jackson Hole are wondering what's holding back the economy.
"What is holding the economy back? Why is it that we've had such incredibly accommodative monetary policy for so long (but) we've had so little growth? I think it remains a puzzle," said Donald Kohn, who is now a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution think tank in Washington.
Adam Posen, who finished his final day as a member of the Bank of England's monetary policy on Friday and is a powerful advocate for more forceful central bank action, asked the same question as Kohn: "Why has all this lower short-term interest rates failed to make the economy go go go?" He argued that policymakers in Europe and the United States should waste no time in extending asset purchase programs to spur growth.
Alan Blinder, another former Fed vice chair who now teaches economics at Princeton, ticked off the two most blatant culprits for why the U.S. economy continued to struggle: government spending cuts and the drag from the depressed housing market.