Dan Thornton of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis just completed a very revealing paper called What Does the Change in the FOMC’s Statement of Objectives Mean? in which he traces FOMC references to the Fed’s mandate over many years. He documents a historically significant recent shift in the language with important legislative and policy implications. Until very recently the FOMC policy statement did not explicitly mention the “maximum employment” part of the dual mandate in the Federal Reserve Act. FOMC members preferred to refer to the goal of price stability and its role in creating strong economic and employment growth.