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Filling the Federal Reserve Board Vacancies? »

(See updates below, 2/13 and 2/24.) Five of the most important appointments Donald Trump will make during his first year in office will be to fill three vacancies on the Federal Reserve Board, to reappoint or replace Janet Yellen as Federal Reserve Board Chair, and to designate one of the Board members as Vice...
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Reflections on Donald Trump’s Election »

As the markets and pundits react to Donald Trump’s enormous upset victory, let me offer my own reactions. As an economist, I will focus on matters pertaining to economic policy. The Danger of Hubris and Denial. Everybody recognizes that the “experts” and polls were totally wrong. Indeed, I was listening to NPR around 6...
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No, Senator Sanders, the Fed Was Always a Creature of Cronyism »

Reforming the Federal Reserve can brighten the future of American democracy—but unless the reforms reflect an understanding of how and why our central bank was created, the Fed will continue to serve the interests of the privileged few at the expense of the rest of us. Regrettably, presidential candidate Bernie Sanders’ misunderstandings about the...
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The Stock Market Reacts to the Fed’s Interest Rate Hike »

After the Fed’s November meeting, when the Fed decided not to hike interest rates, the stock market fell, indicating the disappointment of market participants. As I noted at the time, because lower interest rates tend to raise asset prices, the market decline was an indication of disapproval from market participants. At the Fed’s December...
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Is an Interest Rate Hike Overdue? »

While I’m reluctant to attribute movements in stock prices to specific events, this article says that the big run-up in stock prices (around 1.5%) today was due to the release of the Federal Reserve’s minutes of their last meeting indicating that “a core of officials backed a possible rate hike in December.” The conventional...
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The Fed’s Interest Rate Hike Is Overdue »

I am not the only one who thinks the Federal Reserve should have raised its target federal funds rate at its September 17 meeting, as they suggested they would do months ago, although opinion was mixed on whether the Fed would raise the rate, and whether it should. The Fed is holding the federal...
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U.S. Government Debt Is Now at a Once-Unimaginable Level »

Earlier today I was looking through some old records, and I came across a flyer for a symposium in which I participated at Seattle University early in 1990. The flyer announced the symposium topic by asking: “A $3 Trillion National Debt: Does It Matter? What Can We Do About It?” The topic seemed timely...
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Are Falling Prices a Bad Thing? »

Popular opinion seems to be that falling prices—or even stable prices—are bad for the economy, but I’ve never seen any good arguments about why. I’ve just read another article about this, that gives six clearly numbered reasons, so let’s look at what the article says to see if they hold up.

Total National Security Spending Is Much Greater than the Pentagon’s Base Budget »

In a recent publication of the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, “Defense Spending Extends Beyond the Pentagon’s Budget,” Veronique de Rugy presents a valuable compilation of data for fiscal year 2013, showing how much of the government’s national security spending appears not in the base budget of the Department of Defense, but elsewhere...
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Reining in the Fed »

The House of Representatives is currently considering a variety of bills intended to reduce the power of the Federal Reserve System. (“House Republicans Resume Efforts to Reduce Fed’s Power,” New York Times, July 11, Business Section.) Under the pretext of fighting high unemployment, the Fed has more than quadrupled its balance sheet since summer...
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