Ides of March: Federal Reserve raises interest rates as predicted

Stock averages reverse direction Wednesday, resume upward climb, even after Federal Reserve report. Is the Trump Rally back on again?

"Media Matters" aside, markets continue to react positively to Trump economic revival plans. (Cartoon by Branco, reproduced with permission. See below)*

WASHINGTON, March 15, 2017 – No surprises in Wednesday afternoon’s Fed decision on interest rates: They’re going up. According to CNBC,

“For the second time in three months, the Federal Reserve increased its benchmark interest rate a quarter point amid rising confidence that the economy is poised for more robust growth.

“The move, widely anticipated by financial markets, takes the overnight funds rate to a target range of 0.75 percent to 1 percent and sets the Fed on a likely path of regular hikes ahead.”

As we write this piece, just after the Fed’s 2 p.m. information dump, markets are gyrating wildly, more or less to the upside, attempting to add to stocks’ generally positive tone earlier today. Back to CNBC:

“This week’s hike comes amid hopes that more aggressive fiscal policy under President Donald Trump will allow the Fed to cede its economic stimulus role to Congress and the White House.

“While hard economic data have mixed, sentiment surveys are running high that the economy is poised to grow more than the lackluster post-crisis level. Businesses, consumers and professional investors all have indicated they believe better times are ahead.”

Well, yeah. The first paragraph of the citation just above is interesting. It’s evidence that what we’ve been preaching in this column since roughly 2009 has been, in fact, true; namely that the Ben Bernanke-led Fed regularly though perhaps too discretely begged Congress and then-President Obama to do their part to boost the economy by stimulating employment while the Fed kept interest rates historically low, the better to jolt the U.S. economy back to life after the worst of the Great Recession.

But nothing doing. Never happened. Obama remained hell-bent on redistributing what actual U.S. worker income remained as the American economy struggled on life-support. (We’re still looking for those “shovel-ready” jobs.) Worse, Obama, Reid and Pelosi rammed through the perpetually unpopular Obamacare “health plan” without even consulting the opposition; after which, both Congressional leaders sat on their hands through the end of 2016, regardless of who controlled either house, allowing as little legislation to pass as possible while continuing to sneak more income redistribution goodies into the system.

This anti-middle class evildoing was generally unremarked upon by the Democrats’ media footsoldiers. No surprise there.

Today, March 15, 2017, we hear the Fed could be “allowed” to “cede its economic stimulus role to Congress and the White House” in 2017—something that the Fed was desperately attempting to do throughout most of Obama’s redistributionist administration. What a surprise. That means this column’s rare voice of economic and political reason over the years has been mightily confirmed. Hold the applause, please.

To the point: Whatever robust economic recovery might (and should) lie ahead could have been well underway roughly in 2010. The fact that this never happened is, in this writer’s opinion, nothing short of a serious crime committed by Obama and obstructionist fellow Democrats against the American people for the better part of the past 8 years.

This is a tale the media will never tell. Yet they’ll surely continue to robustly support the deligitimization of the Trump presidency, even though the barely-formed Trump Administration is already helping us climb out of the long, dreary Obama-created Slough of Despond.

We’ll cut off our report and commentary for now, and probably add a short column a couple hours after the market closes after things have settled down a bit. As we conclude this column today, the Dow is up over 100 points and still looking positive. But on a day like today, you can never tell how or where this market will close or whether the March market downtrend has concluded. At least for now.

*Cartoon by Branco. Reproduced with permisssion and by arrangement with ComicallyIncorrect.

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