While many were enjoying an extended break last week, there was good news and bad news on the financial independence front. For the economy, independence from a Federal Reserve rate cut proved to be the right course of action, at least for now.
Stocks reversed multi-week losses and you can thank Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell. The week began with hand wringing over the potential Mexican tariffs. On Tuesday, Powell announced that the central bank was keeping an eye on trade developments, their impact on the U.S. economy, and would “act as appropriate to sustain the expansion.”
Two words from Fed Chair Jerome Powell moved markets last week: “JUST BELOW.” He was talking about short-term interest rates, which are just below neutral, a Goldilocks level that is designed to neither speed up-nor slow down-economic growth. Powell’s assessment was a change from a comment he made in early October, when he said rates were a “long way” from neutral.
The Federal Reserve says a "resilient economy" is one reason why it's raising a key interest rate for the second time this year. The central bank increased the short-term rate a quarter point to a range of 1.75 to 2 percent. The Fed also predicts four rate hikes this year after an earlier forecast of three. I joined CBS This Morning to discuss what this means for you.
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This week marked the first time the press spotlight was on Jerome Powell, the new Chairman of the Federal Reserve.
It was just a few weeks ago that Powell succeeded Janet Yellen, and as expected, the Fed just announced another quarter-point increase in short term interest rates, a sign that the economy continues to grow.
It’s probably safe to say that the average person thinks the Federal Reserve is this big stone building in D.C. that does its own thing, if people are thinking about the central bank at all!
But the truth of the matter is that not a lot comes out of the Fed without running things by another big stone building, the one that houses the Senate and House of Representatives.
To help pull back the curtain a bit on the complicated relationship between the Fed and Congress, we are joined by my childhood friend and Fed expert, Mark Spindel, who along with Sarah Binder, recently published: The Myth of Independence: How Congress Governs the Federal Reserve.
The pages trace the Fed’s transformation from its roots as a weak, secretive, and decentralized institution in 1913 to a remarkably transparent central bank a century later. Offering a unique account of Congress’s role in steering this evolution, the book explores the Fed’s past, present, and future and challenge the myth of its independence.
Examining the interdependent relationship between Congress and its central bank, The Myth of Independencepresents critical insights about the future of monetary and fiscal policies that drive the nation’s economy.
Thankfully, the Fed today retains enough power to prevent lawmakers and the president from completely controlling monetary policy.
“Better Off” is sponsored by Betterment.
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"Better Off" theme music is by Joel Goodman, www.joelgoodman.com.