WASHINGTON. The US Federal Reserve’s latest FOMC minutes, formally released at 2 p.m. Wednesday, wobbled with regard to its take on future interest rate hikes in 2019. Here’s an excerpt from breaking CNBC report on the mushy Fed release.
“Federal Reserve officials at their most recent meeting left room for the possibility of interest rate increases before the end of the year, should economic conditions improve, according to minutes from the session released Wednesday.
“The central bank’s Federal Open Market Committee voted unanimously to not raise its benchmark rate at the March 19-20 gathering, and simultaneously indicated that it didn’t see a likelihood for any hikes through 2019.
“However, that came after a discussion in which members said they would be watching the data on an economy most of them expected to improve through the year.
“Several participants noted that their views of the appropriate range for the federal funds rate could shift in either direction based on incoming data and other developments,” the meeting summary stated….
“The suggestion of a modest move implies one quarter-point adjustment in the current target range of 2.25 percent to 2.5 percent. Futures markets are currently pricing in no chance of an increase and in fact a considerable possibility that the Fed might choose to cut rates.”
A Mushy Fed effectively has no idea what to do next
In other words, the mushy Fed, is back to its familiar Washingtonspeak ways, attempting to have its cake and eat it as well. Our take: The near-disaster the central bank’s ruthless and unnecessary 2018 rate hike regime nearly caused has forced the Fed to proclaim its continued dovishness on rates. But they still pay obeisance to proclaiming the bank’s options remain open. Just in case the middle class resumes its long-awaited recovery under President Trump’s more egalitarian economic policies.
Wednesday stocks seemed bored by it all, floundering Boeing clobbers the Dow
Stocks largely shrugged their collective shoulders today prior to and now 30 minutes after the Fed report was released. The Dow is down 30 points as we write this, and is trying to sink further. That’s largely due to the continued dismal performance of Boeing’s 737 MAX-tainted shares (trading symbol: BA).
BA is off another 4 bucks on the day. Speculation grows that the company may not begin shipping new 737 MAX jets until the 22ndcentury. Okay, we’re exaggerating a bit. But some reports allege that a rumored June 2019 resumption of manufacturing of this model may not happen until September. The one confirmable fact: Nobody knows.
Elsewhere, the broader-based S&P 500 and the tech-heavy NASDAQ averages are moderately up even as the Dow mucks about.
Today’s House Financial Services Committee has fun ragging on major bank CEOs
Speaking of those brain-dead elites, elsewhere in Washington today we witnessed a parade of big-bank CEOs and assorted big-money Pooh-Bahs galumphing up to Capitol Hill to be used and abused by the now Democrat-run House Financial Services Committee headed up by banking expert Auntie Maxine Waters. Our mushy Fed cannot come close to Waters’ brilliance on financial matters.
Throughout Wednesday’s “hearing,” committee Democrats used most of their time not to question all those big bank Pooh-Bahs on important matters, but instead to posture and push pet projects like anything “green,” making sure no banks financed gun manufacturers (or pushing them in that direction), etc. In other words, the Dems spent most of their time posturing for the next election while insulting the intelligence of the assembled bank CEOs.
Committee Chair Auntie Maxine Waters offers her comprehensive understanding of financial matters
Perhaps the most hilarious exchange occurred when Auntie Maxine turned her big guns on the banks, setting up to chastise them on their responsibility for the 2010 student loan crisis. Valerie Richardson of the Washington Times succinctly recounts the ensuing deadpan hilarity.
“House Financial Services Committee chairwoman Maxine Waters was brought up short Wednesday after she targeted banking chiefs over the student loan crisis, even though the federal government took over student lending in 2010.
“At a hearing featuring a panel of seven bank CEOs, Ms. Waters ticked off figures on student loan debt and defaults, then asked, ‘What are you guys doing to help us with this student loan debt? Who would like to answer first? Mr. Monahan, big bank.’
“Bank of America chairman and CEO Brian Monahan replied, ‘We stopped making student loans in 2007 or so.’
“Ms. Waters replied, ‘Oh, so you don’t do it anymore. Mr. Corbat?’
“Said Citigroup CEO Michael Corbat: ‘We exited student lending in 2009.’”
Dimon’s fair response to the Chair’s invincible ignorance
That was news to Auntie Maxine, one of the new Democrat House majority’s leading intellectual lights. But it got better.
“[Waters] then turned to James Dimon, JPMorgan Chase chairman and CEO, who explained, ‘When the government took over student lending in 2010 or so, we stopped doing all student lending.’
“At that point, Ms. Waters changed the subject, saying, ‘Thank you. What about small business?’
Move along folks, nothing to see here. It’s pretty amusing when Richardson’s straight reporting of this exchange looks more like political satire than news. Then again, pure ignorance is the calling card of the Democrat Party, 2019 Edition.
Waters apparently had no actual clue that her beloved President, Barack Hussein Obama, grandiosely pushed banks and private corporations like Sallie Mae (SLM) out of the student loan business so the Federal government could take over that sector of the economy in addition to healthcare, bureaucratizing the system and, not coincidentally, giving the Feds leverage against colleges and universities that have come to depend on all that Federal largess.
Focusing on the mushy Fed’s non-minutes Wednesday, the MSM didn’t bother airing this material and additional nonsense from other brain dead Democrat committee members. At least the Washington Times put it on record. (Although Google search buries this piece as usual.) Fortunately, however, the Times notes that alert conservatives and Fox News weren’t ready to let this foolishness die from neglect.
“Conservatives chided Ms. Waters for the apparent blooper, with former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee saying the exchange shows that ‘she knew nothing about student loans.’ Fox host Maria Bartiromo tweeted that Ms. Waters ‘had no idea the government took over student loans.’”
Huckabee and Bartiromo may have been stating the obvious. But in today’s Orwellian Washington, you have to regard such educational commentary as a genuine public service.
— Headline image: Cartoon by Branco. Reproduced with permission and by arrangement with Comically Incorrect.