Federal Reserve Gears Up f or Stimulus
By Jon Hilsenrath and Jonathan Cheng
Wall Street Journal, Wednesday, October 27 2010
The Federal Reserve is close to embarking on another round of monetary stimulus next week, against the backdrop of a weak economy and low inflation-and despite doubts about the wisdom and efficacy of the policy among economists and some of the Fed’s own decision makers.
The central bank is likely to unveil a program of U.S. Treasury bond purchases worth a few hundred billion dollars over several months, a measured approach in contrast to purchases of nearly $2 trillion it unveiled during the financial crisis. The announcement is expected to be made at the conclusion of a two-day meeting of its policy-making committee next Wednesday.
The Fed’s aim is to drive up the prices of long-term bonds, which in turn would push down long-term interest rates. It hopes that would spur more investment and spending and liven up the recovery. But officials want to avoid the “shock and awe” style used during the crisis in favor of an approach that allows them to adjust their policy and possibly add to their purchases, over time as the recovery unfolds.
Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke’s push to restart the bond-buying program-a form of monetary stimulus known as quantitative easing-has been greeted with deep skepticism among some of his colleagues.
In some of his strongest words yet, Thomas Hoenig, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, said Mon-day that more expansive monetary policy was a “bargain with the devil.”
In the next few months, internal opposition to Mr. Bernarike’s approach could intensify as presidents of. three regional Fed banks who have expressed skepticism about the plan-Narayana Kocherlakota of Minneapolis, Richard Fisher of Da1las and Charles Plosser of Philadelphia-take voting positions on the Fed’s policy-making body. There are 12 regional Fed banks, and five voting seats on the Federal Open Market Committee rotate among them every year, with New York always keeping one.
Investors already expect Fed Action. Stock prices have rallied since Mr. Bernanke broached the idea of buying in late August. But investors and analysts are divided on whether the gambit will work.
In normal times, the Fed reduces short-term interest rates when it wants to spur growth. But the central bank already cut short-term rates to near zero in 2008, so it is turning to an unconventional measure: Some Fed officials argue the economy is going through long-term changes that the central bank can’t rush, and worry a large bond-buying program might only stoke future inflation or a new asset bubble.
But view likely to prevail at the November 2-3 meeting is that the economy is falling short on two fronts: Unemployment, at 9:6%; means the Fed is falling short of its legal mandate to maximize employment. Inflation, which is running a bit above 1° so far this year, is below the Fed’s informal objective of about 2%, and runs the risk of falling even lower. With so much unused capacity and spare labor, many officials contend, the Fed is unlikely to stoke a worrisome amount of inflation.
Though details remain to be being sorted out internally, the broad outlines have taken shape.
Unlike in March 2009, when the Fed laid out a program to buy $1.75-trillion worth of Treasury and mortgage bonds over six to nine months, officials this time want flexibility as they assess if the program is working.
Mr. Bernanke has used the analogy of a golfer with a new putter: Unsure how it will work, he finds best strategy is to tap lightly at first and keep tapping until the golfer figures out how best to use the putter.
The Fed could leave open the possibility of more purchases in the future, particularly if inflation is projected to remain below 2% and the unemployment outlook remains high, which is currently the expectation of many officials. Or it could halt the program if the economy or inflation surprisingly take off, officials have said. Fed officials will up their forecasts for growth, unemployment and inflation through 2013 at the upcoming meeting.
Some investors are on edge about how the Fed will proceed. On the one hand, the Dow Jones Industrial Average has risen 12% since Mr. Bernanke began hinting about buying bonds two months ago.
But commodity prices are also soaring. That could portent more inflation than the Fed wants. At the same time, the dollar has slid nearly 10% against the euro; that could help U.S. exports but it creates tensions with trading partners.
From nearly 4% in April, the yield on the 10-year Treasury note has already tumbled to about 2.6%, in part because investors expect the Fed to be in the market buying bonds. Mortgage rates, closely tied to the 10-year note level, have fallen to their lowest in more than four decades.
A Wall Street Journal survey of private sector economists in early October found that the Fed is expected to purchase about $250 billion of Treasury bonds per quarter and continue until mid-20ll. New York Fed president William Dudley noted one key benchmark in a speech earlier this month. He said $500 billion worth of purchases had the same impact on the economy as a reduction of the federal funds rate by one-half to three-quarters of a percentage point.
In speeches this week, Mr. Dudley repeated he found the economy’s weak state “unacceptable” and said “further Fed action was likely to be warranted.”
The bond-buying program is likely to focus on Treasury bonds with maturities mostly between 2-years and 10-years, according to interviews with some officials. The Fed could buy even longer-term bonds, though some offi-cials are reluctant to do that aggressively because it could exposed them to long-term losses without much added benefit.
You are required to post your answer to two of the following questions listed and you will also respond to two classmate’s Discussion Question Answer. Please politely respond to another student’s posting. You can agree or disagree, but either way you must provide a reasonable argument for why you feel as you do. If any students treats others badly, he/she will be removed from Discussion Board and will lose his/her points.
1. Is this article introducing a Monetary or Fiscal Policy? Why? Please Explain.
2. Please list two other tools used to conduct for each Monetary and Fiscal Policies separately.
3. According to this article, why did the U.S. stock market go up in August 2010? Please comment.
4. What was the name and purpose of the Fed’s policy? Explain.
5. What are the possible positive and/or negative impacts of such a policy? How did it effect on interest rate? What type of interest rate first?
6. Please briefly (in one paragraph) explain the actual effect of such a policy you have observed on the U.S. economy since November 2010.
Your answer to each of the four questions must be at least one, but not more than two paragraphs long. Discussion Participation report is due on or before May 5th, 2011.
In this quest to find out who or what liberty is and how much or how little is best I often run into small problems when I apply them to real world issues. A lot of what’s read on this blog will seem to be libertarian (not Glenn Beck libertarian I hope, more Robert Nozick). I can say that there are many things that annoy me about libertarians, the libertarian party and especially the ‘The Tea Party’.
Today is one of those days where I’m going to hang to people that are ‘liberty minded’ like myself and to a certain degree side with the dreaded socialists. The topic is racism and civil rights.
Their racism is hidden behind abstract ideas like traditional values, the national religion and even small government.
Not taking into account the tax system, the power of the state and a myriad of other political and economical issues, historically and generally, when it comes to civil tights the socialists have been correct. The conservative forces that have historically fueled segregation, racial nationalism, minority oppression, slavery and a lot prejudice in general have been shown by history to be wrong.
They’re hidden behind abstract ideas like traditional values, the national religion (or at least the contemporary understanding of the national religion), and even small government. When a politician says they are for preserving traditional values, a bell should ring in your head that the man or woman before you is supporting an idea too general to analyze or criticize and therefore is at best saying nothing of importance and at worst is using the phrase to mask another agenda. Often times that agenda has been nationalism or racism. The national religion idea is simply a falsehood, it’s the cousin of traditional values.
When the situation calls for a more secular tone, a partisan person only has to replace the phrase: “my religion” with the phrase: “traditional values.” Hiding prejudice ideals behind the banner of small government is the one that irks someone like me the most, the use of the idea of a smaller less intrusive state (or in the U.S. the idea of states’ rights) to advance oppressive ideals is the dirtiest form of hiding one’s prejudice.
It’s a testament to how far we’ve progressed as a society that the thought that a state in the US would try to limit the freedom of an African American on the grounds that it’s a “free state” and it should be allowed to oppress other human being independent of the federal government is now thought of as crazy. At least it sounds like a crazy argument to me, maybe not so much to you.
There’s so much more to say on the issue and I’ll continue with separate posts going into anti-racist movements and their compatibility with the liberty minded, how the right hijacks Martin Luther King Jr’s movement but does nothing to advance the very liberty oriented cause, and few other subtopics I’ve been mulling over. My main point is to emphasize that any oppression of any group is not who liberty is.
No duh right?
Today I came home from work, after drinking a bit too much the night before, hoping to immediately find my bed, after of course I browse the news and check my email. Within my gmail inbox I found a message I’d been waiting for, for a few days. It was the final score on my research paper, one that I had been getting decent marks on through the first and second draft phases. When I opened the email though I saw a big fat zero and message warning me about plagiarism.
My first thought was that I forgot to cite a source. Then I thought, “Why wasn’t that caught before?” and “How strict can you be!”. When I opened up the returned document, I found the offending portions of my paper in red, some sentences that I could say I was proud of writing and that anyone can read in the post before the one your reading now. Scrolling down under the “stole phrases” I saw the source I had supposedly stole stole from: http://www.fistonchin.wordpress.com. I emailed and called my instructor and am now waiting on a reply, but I figure I could just post to prove my ownership of my blog. So the following is to my professor:
Dr. Young, my name is Chris Sarda and apparently only instructors that paste pieces of their students work into google read this little blog about my political musings, with that said the writing is mine and hopefully you don’t hold it against me that you have a student that actually enjoys writing, even if nobody reads what he has to say.
The Tea Party political movement is in danger of becoming a nationalistic psuedo-racist and fascist movement. The majority of off center political activists eventually return to their centrist roots after disappointing election results, as has been shown in past third party movements. The Tea Party movement already has a racist element and stigma hanging over it which journalist Christopher Hitchens calls “white fright.” The Tea Party’s already built infrastructure would allow extremists to take over if the majority of adherents return to the center. If such a movement were to come about, the First Amendment would protect it and counter protest would be the only way to combat such a movement.
There have been many examples in American history where third party issues have been marginalized by the major parties. These practices often knock the air out of grassroots and third party movements. People who were either apolitical or had anger at what they saw as the status quo, either return to their non-political lives or are enveloped into the centrist party that is closest to their belief system, or that appears to accommodate the off-center movements ideals. The examples in later posts will show how in the history of the United States third party movements were disrupted due to major party marginalization. Another factor that is evident and that make people make the transition from off-center movement back to their centrist roots are official election results. People excited by ideas that will bring about change are more likely to vote and answer the pre-election polls.
When official election results come in for third party movements, they almost always result in the excited activists returning down to Earth from their campaigning highs. People within the most successful off-center movements have had to find contentment in the consolation prize of “at least we affected the outcome of the election.” Failure or subtle success, mixed with the marginalization from the center parties is often enough to thin out even the largest and successful off-center movements.
There is a way believe it or not, to believe that homosexuals shouldn’t be allowed to marry and not lose any socially liberal credibility. In my apparently psycho head, I can agree with someone that says: “Marriage is something that can only be between a man and a woman,” if that’s what their religion says, then so be it. I’d probably disagree with the religion as a whole anyway. In my understanding of the history and point of marriage, is that marriage is a religious institution, and since it is, why do and why should the US government and state governments recognize any marriage officially?
To the people on the right that try to compromise and say marriage is only for a man and a woman, so the gay community should seek civil unions, I say the opposite! We should abolish marriage and everyone should be able to have a civil union legally, and then you and your church, and family and friends can decide what “marriage” is, without the aid of Congress. Church and State should be separated to protect one from the other, yet no one seems to catch on to the fact that marriage itself is a religious institution.
The gay community sees that a different group of people, heterosexuals, get to do something that they don’t, marriage. What they don’t realize is that they’re fighting for the civil right to have the same government yoke on them as the heterosexuals get. The more religious heterosexuals see it as a crown, but it is a yoke, an unnecessary, mostly unconstitutional title, and saying it’s only for men and women is discrimination.
So I’ve run into a problem. I have issue, with an issue, that no one else seems to have an issue with. We’re all about stopping monuments of the ten commandments from being built on a government site, but everyone pretends marriage is secular? No it isn’t. In my position, just do to the fact that it’s wrong for the government to favor one group over another , I ‘d have to vote yes for any gay marriage initiatives that come through, but make no mistake about it, I am against gay marriage.
I believe in natural selection, not only in the gene pool, but in the market too. In all our intelligence we love to set up blocks in the form of strict copyright laws for enjoyment of art… (which I read a great paper about, calling it a “Human Only Phenomenon”).
Like most laws (compulsory education, immigration laws, minimum wage, health care) they were made with good intentions, despite creating a handful of new problems least of which is debt and less freedom, and have tattooed themselves onto our culture, but thankfully concerning copyright, natural selection in the form of technological advances has made it so that intellectual property is much much easier to consume.
We are currently in a limbo where our unnatural but well intentioned laws and the beneficial advances of our society are crashing together.
I don’t know if more authors and creators will be able to support themselves, they may have to do more things in front of audiences or make their particular art live, or any number of things I can’t predict because I’m one person and simply cannot predict the invisible hand/natural selection of the market.
What I do know is that, when TV appeared books didn’t disappear. When the printing press was invented, we didn’t destroy ourselves with knowledge like most religious leaders predicted (however we did become more free thinkers and less religious, just like they predicted). My point is that the never ending spectacle Art: The Human Phenomenon will not stop playing in human minds and on the human stage.
However enforcing current copyright laws endangers our much beloved privacy and personal freedoms.
The little machine I’m typing this on has created quite the stir the last decade or two. With this tiny little thing I basically have access to the vast majority of human thought. As for the classics Gutenberg is only a click away, and I have access to Shakespeare, Dante, Chaucer and a whole mess of other stuff I can care less about.
The stuff on Gutenberg.org is great, but it’s not a problem, there’s no question about the legality of Gutenberg, Shakespeare long ago fell into the public domain, but what about Stephen King’s It or The Matrix ? Today I can hop onto Isohunt and download either one free of charge. Is it stealing? Do most who do it feel like thieves?
Copyright law is broken.
Let’s just assume the government has the resources to start cracking down on all these criminals, is that the world we want to live in? An active government getting into computers to make sure we don’t have an illegal copy of the latest cartoon? What else are they going to look at? How else will they incriminate you? What if you’re innocent, but they check anyway? Would that be justified? For the greater good?
We’re in limbo right now. Copyright policy REFORM is the only answer. Without it, staying in this limbo can be fatal for both sides. My freedoms are in danger for reasons mentioned above, but the whole entertainment industry is also at risk. A business needs to know the rules in order to operate, and the rules we have now are fuzzy and unenforceable.
The basics of my plan are to admit that private personal use is free. There’s no getting around it. What should remain copyright protected, is the right to make money off of your intellectual property. If you write a book, I’d be able to download it and read it in my home, I prefer to buy them and hold them though, but I couldn’t turn it to a hit special effects summer blockbuster, without buying the right from you. Now after you’re paid and someone does buy those rights, I could download the film at home for free, (although I do prefer to go out some nights with my wife and watch a movie in an actual cinema) but I could not create action figures, and lunchboxes with characters from the movies and make a profit.
It’s true though, that in my pretend world, there would probably be less summer blockbuster 200 million dollar special effect bonanzas, and artists with the popularity levels of The Beatles and The Backstreet Boys would go the way of Conan on NBC. No matter what changes, PEOPLE WILL NOT STOP WRITING BOOKS. PEOPLE WILL NOT STOP MAKING MOVIES. PEOPLE WILL NOT STOP COMPOSING SONGS.
I would argue that there would be more to chose from and more niche markets. But…
WE WILL NOT STOP CREATING.
On this blogby Lingosteve, who normally writes about language started a rather heated conversation on homeschooling.
I haven’t any children and when I decide to, chances are that they will attend public school. With that said, I do think homeschooling is the best option for a child on all levels. It’ll make him smarter, most of the time it’ll make him more sociable, and will teach him how to think independently.
The reasons I probably won’t home school are two fold. My wife has the same unfounded prejudices that most people who don’t know what they’re talking about have, and my wife and I both have careers we want to pursue and therefore have no time to home school our future children.
But what’s the big deal anyway? Why are people so afraid of homeschooling, especially in this day and age where information is so easy to come by? Is it because some people have a preconceived view of what society should be and think that all children should be forced to conform to that narrow viewpoint? I hope not, ’cause that’s not liberty. Is it because a significant number of home schooled children are home schooled due to religious reasons that the education establishment disagrees with? Well, that wouldn’t be liberty either. Is it because the teacher’s union is horrendously strong and home schooling, a proven success, threatens their power and position? Yeah probably, and unfortunately that also isn’t liberty.
Studies have shown that home schooled children outperform public school children in almost every way. Very rare is the home schooled child that has problems dealing with society and other people, where in public schools there are whole groups of kids who feel like outsiders. Why people try to put down the idea so much and so often is beyond me, and the few who want to make it illegal are definitely not liberty….
“The defendant took an unholstered, loaded pistol into a crowded nightclub, accidentally firing it with one hand while holding his drink in the other,” he said. “This extreme and reckless disregard for safety is what New York’s gun laws were designed to prevent.” This is was said by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. according to espn.com
Mr. Vance unfortunately definitely isn’t Liberty. It interests me that New York’s gun laws are designed for ‘prevention’. They obviously don’t work. New York City is one of the most dangerous places in the US, and Mr. Burress, although an idiot, is someone who’s an actual earner in this little country of ours, not some criminal mastermind or drunken hooligan.
So this is basically what happens. A state has draconian gun laws in order to protect its citizens. Yet it is one of the most dangerous places in the country and Mr. Burress, who really should have known he was in totalitarian state, had a gun to protect: himself. For this an earner, someone who made peoples lives better with his skills, someone who did his part to make our country’s favorite game better, now goes from giving hundreds of thousands of dollars into the system, to costing us a hundred thousand dollars to house in a prison.
And all the while, the NY district attorney says that New York’s gun laws are there to prevent gun crime! Plaxico should be held responsible for anything that could have gone wrong, but the point is that New York laws designed to prevent gun crime in the name safety, didn’t prevent anything at all and all the public got in return was an expense rather than an account receivable.
I do know a DA that got himself some press and maybe a nomination as a democratic candidate in the future though.
I’m not sure whether people believe that money is the root of all evil or whether they believe the love of money is the root of all evil. Those that believe that money has to do with evil probably don’t differentiate between the two ideas.
How could the tool with which man trades the results of his production to another man who is also trading the results of his production be evil? Is then production evil? It’s quite apparent, at least to me, if you call the tool of trade evil, then you yourself are confused.
Money is a beautiful thing when it has value. Money and wealth are the catalysts of production and creation, unfortunately through force and an evil creation called bureaucracy money has become a plaything of the unproductive. I will expand on these thoughts at a later date.