KANSAS CITY - I was appointed chairman of the Federal Reserve while
in Kansas City recently.
For the 48 month term, the economy was in my hands. It was my
responsibility to increase and decrease reserves to keep the economy
in balance. Look out.
As "my term" began, the unemployment rate inched up into the red
zone and inflation decreased.
I decreased the reserves, but went too far and unemployment
increased rapidly as I unintentionally held the economy down and
restricted the money flow.
But interest rates, inflation and the gross national product
remained fairly low. The ultimate idea is to balance the amount of
money allowed to flow into the system, but being inexperienced and
politically inclined, I began pumping the button to increase reserves
in the final five months of my term for a positive effect.
Growth increased, unemployment initally began to slide, but
because of the lag between the action and the result, there is not
enough time within the first term for the interest rates to increase.
Neither was there enough time to see a change in inflation and the
GNP. Both remained low until the end of the term.
The President reappointed me to a second 48 month term.
The Monetary Policy game is part of the new permanent exhibit of
the Vistor Center at the renovated Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas
City. Paul Volcker, the real chairman of the Fed, reportedly played
the computer game and lost the first time.
After several years of planning, a portion of the building which
houses Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City has been restored and
renovated for public use as a Visitor's Center.
The first floor and mezzanine of the 20-story structure are now
easily accessible to visitors and the addition of a fine arts
gallery, auditorium and a permanent educational exhibit represent the
bank's long-term commitment to public service.
An objective of the bank was to also enhance the downtown
environment, which is met by the creation of the gallery. The
gallery is one way the bank, as a quasi-public institution, can
contribute tothe arts.
About 5,000 vistors, primarily students and teachers, tour the
Bank each year. The new facility will allow the Bank to host more
visitors and to provide expanded educational programs through the
exhibits and other audio/visual media.
The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City is the head office for the
10th Federal Reserve District with branches in Oklahoma City, Omaha,
The Federal Reserve Bank Building for the 10th District was
constructed at 925 Grand Ave. in Kansas City in 1921. It is said
that at the time, because of an uncertainty of the success of the
federal reserve system, the building was designed to resemble a
commercial bank. If the Federal Reserve failed, the building would
be sold to a bank and the lobby could be easily converted.
Before 1921, the Reserve Bank was housed in as many as five
different buildings at once throughout the downtown area. The
building was constructed in 23 months from 325 tons of marble, 2,088
tons of cut stone and 5,615 tons of brick.
In 1947 the lobby was renovated into a showplace. The color
scheme was changed from a total look of white paint to dark marble
and paint with gold leaf accents applied to the ceiling panels.
Roger Guffy, president, began planning a restoration and
renovation to turn part of the bank into a facility for the public as
early as 1979.
Construction began on the $2.1 million project in the fall of 1984
and was completed one year later. In the renovation, the color
scheme was lightened with a rosy, peachy colored marble on the walls
and pillars, highlighted by muted shades of blue, green and gray.
The width of the mezzanine was increased at both the north and south
ends. The gold leaf ornamentation added to the ceiling panels in
1947 has been restored.
The old marble used in the building was re-used to build a
staircase to the second floor. …