Anecdotes at the Federal Reserve

The Federal Reserve occupies a special pedestal of authority and competence in the arena of governmental bodies charged with economic policy. Compared to Congress, it acts with amazing unity and speed. Moreover, compared to Congresses’s shortsighted and often political settlements, the Federal Reserve tends to make calculated, strategic decisions with an close eye to their long-term ramifications.The tendency of investors and analysts to hang on very last word of the Chairman’s public statements evidences the delicately crafted nature of its policy. However, in moments of crisis, even the ordered, empirical world of the Fed policy-making can be turned upside down. Transcripts of Federal Open Market Committee Continue reading Anecdotes at the Federal Reserve

Diversity of Economic Indicators

Economists—as well as politicians, traders, and the media—use indicators to assess and describe the economy. They’re like measurements your doctor might take to evaluate your health: heart rate, blood pressure, reflexes, etc.. Economic indicators range from straightforward, official measurements of intuitively “economic” statistics (such as the BLS’s Consumer Price Index) to unofficial, indirect methods of gauging economic activity. In our healthcare analogy, indirect indicators might be like your doctor trying to determine your overall health by investigating how well-used your pillow is (to guess the quality of your sleep). Think that sounds clever? Check out these economic indicators: + using “Craigslist Continue reading Diversity of Economic Indicators

A Glimpse into the Federal Reserve

The Federal Reserve recently released a transcript of their Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting in September 16, 2008. The FOMC oversees the Fed’s “Open Market Operations,” purchase and sale of bonds; the Fed controls our money supply through this mechanism. It makes sense for the operational arm of the Fed to convene bright and early—8:30am—that day. This meeting took place in the thick of the financial crisis. Chairman Bernanke opened the session: “Good morning, everybody. Sorry for the late beginning. The markets are continuing to experience very significant stresses this morning, and there are increasing concerns about the insurance company AIG.” The Continue reading A Glimpse into the Federal Reserve