Commentary: Federal Reserve’s False Assumptions Push the Economy into Recession

Federal Reserve

Based on its assumptions, the Federal Reserve is doing everything right by raising interest rates rapidly after years of easy money. It will certainly succeed in its goal of “cooling down” the economy.

Unfortunately, the Fed’s basic assumptions are wrong, and it has already begun reducing Americans’ standard of living, as indicated by this week’s Commerce Department report showing the nation’s gross domestic product fell for the second quarter in a row, meeting the common definition of a recession.

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The Fed’s Preferred Inflation Metric Just Surged in Another Warning Sign for the Economy

The Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation gauge, the Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) price index, continued to surge in June, according to data released Friday by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA).

The PCE index was up 6.8% for the year ending in June, an increase from the 6.3% that it was at in both April and May, the BEA announced. PCE is the Fed’s preferred measure of inflation because it is “just better at capturing the inflation people actually face in their lives,” and the central bank endeavors to keep it at 2%, Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell said Wednesday.

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Federal Reserve Announces Rate Hike to Combat High Inflation

The U.S. Federal Reserve announced another 0.75% rate hike Wednesday in response to inflation, which has soared to its highest level in more than four decades.

The announcement comes after just last month the Federal Reserve announced a rate hike of the same size, which at the time was the largest rate increase since 1994. 

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Federal Reserve Chair Powell Says During Senate Hearing That a Recession Is Possible

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said the U.S. could enter into a recession when questioned Wednesday during a Senate Banking Committee hearing.

Confronted about 40-year-high inflation and the Fed raising interest rates in response, Powell said he couldn’t know for sure but said a recession, defined as a significant decline in economic activity over time, is possible.

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Jerome Powell Confirmed for Second Term as Federal Reserve Chair

The Senate voted 80-19 on Thursday to confirm Jerome Powell to a second term as Federal Reserve chair, even as inflation has hit record highs under his watch.

The 19 “Nay” votes came from 13 Republicans and 5 Democrats and included a range of Senators from Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).

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Commentary: Joe Biden vs. We the People

The Biden Administration last June unveiled its “National Strategy for Countering Domestic Terrorism.” Despite its anodyne-sounding name, the “national strategy” was anything but anodyne. The pamphlet represented the logical culmination of the Left’s cynical use of the January 6, 2021, U.S. Capitol riot as a means of ginning up large-scale, nationwide anti-Republican/anti-Trump voter sentiment.

The result, evinced again by Attorney General Merrick Garland’s disgraceful October 2021 memo directing the FBI to intrude on local school board meetings and crack down on anti-critical race theory parental revolts, has been a roiling cold war waged by the ruling class against us “deplorables” and our political “wrong-think.”

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Fed Report: Inflation Passed on to Consumers, Will Continue for Months

Newly compiled data from the Federal Reserve shows that inflation is hurting businesses, costing consumers, and likely not going away anytime soon.

The Federal Reserve released its “Beige Book,” a report that compiles reports from “Bank and Branch directors and interviews with key business contacts, economists, market experts, and other sources” from the 12 Fed districts around the country.

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Consumer Prices Rise 8.5 Percent, the Highest in 40 Years

Newly released federal inflation data show that prices continue to rise at the fastest rate in four decades, continuing the trend of soaring inflation.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released its Consumer Price Index, a key indicator of inflation, which showed prices rose an additional 1.2% in March, part of an 8.5 percent spike in the past 12 months.

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Feds: Retail Food Prices to Increase by an Additional Five Percent

The U.S. Department of Agriculture expects U.S. food prices to increase by at least another 5% on average this year as the majority of Americans surveyed in a new poll cite cost of living increases as a top concern and lack of confidence in President Joe Biden’s ability to do anything about it.

Rising prices are due to inflation, the Federal Reserve increasing interest rates, and consequences of Russia invading Ukraine, the USDA states in its most recent monthly Food Price Outlook, which forecasts retail food inflation.

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Prices Are Still Rising Despite the Fed Saying Everything’s Under Control

The price of goods throughout the economy rose at its fastest level in decades despite assurances from Federal Reserve Bank Chairman Jerome Powell earlier this month that the central bank would get inflation under control.

The personal consumption expenditures price index (PCE) surged 6.4% in February on a year-over-year basis, the fastest pace since January 1982, the Commerce Department announced Thursday. The Dow Jones estimate projected core PCE, which strips out food and gas, would increase by 5.5%.

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Economists Expect Elevated Inflation as Projected U.S. GDP Plummets

Economists across the U.S. expect ongoing inflation as the growth projections for the U.S. economy have plummeted, according to a newly released survey.

The National Association for Business Economics released a survey of 234 economic experts Monday that highlights major concerns about the U.S. economy. The report found inflation ranks as a top worry for economists.

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Fed Hikes, Higher Mortgage Rates Mark Consequences of Ongoing Inflation

Mortgage rates surpassed 4% for the first time since 2019 and the Federal Reserve announced a series of new rate hikes this week, two major shifts that mark the economic response to months of elevated inflation.

The Federal Reserve announced a 0.25% interest rate hike and said six more increases are on the way. Last week’s increase is meant to rein in inflation, but can have negative effects on economic growth. Meanwhile, mortgage rates are expected to increase along with the Federal Reserve rate.

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Biden Federal Reserve Nominee Sarah Bloom Raskin Withdraws Nomination

Sarah Bloom Raskin

Sarah Bloom Raskin, President Joe Biden’s pick for a key Federal Reserve position, withdrew her nomination Tuesday after receiving bipartisan pushback.

Raskin’s nomination faced fierce opposition by Republican lawmakers and industry groups that argued her previous positions on a range of topics including climate policy disqualified her for the job. Republicans on the Senate Banking Committee led by Ranking Member Pat Toomey have boycotted a vote to pass her nomination and four other nominations to the Senate for a floor vote since February.

“Unfortunately, Senate Republicans are more focused on amplifying these false claims and protecting special interests than taking important steps toward addressing inflation and lowering costs for the American people,” Biden said in a statement Tuesday. “I am grateful for Sarah’s service to our country and for her willingness to serve again, and I look forward to her future contributions to our country.”

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Central Bank Expected to Raise Interest Rates Wednesday

Person counting cash

The Federal Reserve is expected to raise interest rates after its meeting Wednesday to combat the country’s soaring inflation, Axios reported.

The central bank is believed to raise its target fed funds rate by a quarter percentage point from zero after the end of the two-day meeting ending Wednesday, Axios reported. The Fed’s decision will outline the bank’s monetary policy for the near future and determine whether the U.S. economy enters a recession or continues surging price hikes, according to Axios.

Inflation has soared to nearly 8% year-over-year as of February while unemployment stayed below 4%, indicating that the Fed has been behind the curve in its effort to address sustained inflation, Axios reported. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell is now reportedly tasked with fixing a delicate economy without crashing it despite a war in Ukraine and renewed COVID-19 lockdowns in China.

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Manchin Says No on Confirming Raskin for Fed Position, Likely Derailing Biden, Fellow Dems’ Effort

Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin said Monday that he will not support the nomination of Sarah Bloom Raskin to become the Federal Reserve’s top banking regulator, placing a major obstacle in her path to Senate confirmation.

In February, Republicans on the Senate Banking Committee uniformly opposed Raskin’s nomination by refusing to attend a committee vote to advance her position. The no-show act also created a blockade to the nominations of several other Fed nominees, including Chairman Jerome Powell.

Raskin to be confirmed needs 51 yes votes – a simple majority – in a final Senate vote.

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Inflation Soars to Another Four-Decade High

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) increased 0.8% in February, bringing the key inflation indicator’s year-over-year increase to 7.9%, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported.

The core price index, which measures inflation of goods less food and energy, increased 0.5% in February, the BLS reported. Food prices reportedly grew 7.9% on a year-over-year basis as of February, the BLS reported, and energy prices soared 25.6%.

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Federal Reserve Chairman Powell Announcing Increase in Interest Rates This Month

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell will announce Wednesday that the central bank will begin raising interest rates this month – in an attempt to curb rising inflation expected to further increase as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

In prepared testimony to a congressional committee, Powell says the Fed will “need to be nimble” in responding to unexpected changes resulting from the invasion and the resulting sanctions, according to the Associated Press.

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Commentary: Biden Nominee Reaps the Financial Rewards of Being ‘Connected’

Sarah Bloom Raskin

Who among us hasn’t made $1.5 million for sitting on an advisory board for two years? Not you? Come to think of it, me neither. Such money comes only to the well connected.

And “connected” is a good word to use in regard to Sarah Bloom Raskin, nominated last month by President Joe Biden to be Vice Chair for Supervision at the Federal Reserve System. Previously, from 2010 to 2014, she served as a Governor of the Fed, and then, from 2014 to 2017, she worked as Barack Obama’s Deputy Secretary of the Treasury.

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‘Extreme Left-Wing Positions’: Biden’s ‘Activist’ Fed Nominee Lisa Cook Once Supported Reparations

President Joe Biden’s nominee to regulate the banking industry has previously expressed support for economic reparations to black Americans, Fox Business reported Monday.

Lisa Cook, a professor of international relations and economics at Michigan State University, has an extensive history of supporting “race-specific” financial compensation “because the injury was race-specific,” Fox reported. Cook was nominated on Jan. 14 to serve on the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.

“Everybody benefited from slavery. Everybody. So, I think that we absolutely need some sort of reckoning with that,” said Cook on the EconTalk podcast in September 2020. “One thing I do support is H.R. 40 … I think that’s absolutely what needs to be done,” said Cook in a March 2021 talk at Berkeley Haas, referencing a bill that would establish a commission to study and develop reparation proposals.

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Federal Reserve Indicates Interest Rate Hike Arriving in March

With both volatile markets and significant inflation in the mix, the Federal Reserve on Wednesday indicated that it may soon raise interest rates for the first time in more than three years.

“With inflation well above 2 percent and a strong labor market, the committee expects it will soon be appropriate to raise the target range for the federal funds rate,” the body said n a highly anticipated statement following its meeting.

The Federal Open Market Committee added that the central bank’s monthly bond-buying will proceed at just $30 billion in February, signaling that the program could come to an end in March as the interest rate increases.

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Biden’s Fed Nominee Lisa Cook Criticized for Being Unqualified, Embellishing Resume

President Joe Biden’s latest high-profile Fed nominee is in danger of being struck down in the Senate because she is widely seen by her peers as a left-wing activist rather than a serious monetary economist, several economists told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Biden appointed Lisa Cook, a professor of international relations and economics at Michigan State University and former Obama White House staffer, on Jan. 13 to serve on the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve, which regulates the banking industry.

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Inflation Soars to Highest Level Since 1982

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) increased 0.5% in December, bringing the key inflation indicator’s year-over-year increase to 7%, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported.

The CPI soared to 7% on a year-over-year basis in December, the highest level in almost four decades, the BLS reported Wednesday. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal projected the index would soar past 7.1% in December.

“There’s still a lot of scarcity in the economy. Consumers and businesses are in great financial shape, and they’re willing to pay up for more goods, more services and more labor,” Sarah House, director, and senior economist at Wells Fargo, told the WSJ.

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Federal Reserve Chairman Powell Says Inflation Poses ‘Severe’ Threat to Job Market

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell acknowledged Tuesday that high inflation is indeed a serious threat to the U.S. central bank’s goal of helping to get U.S. employees back to work.

He also said the Fed will raise rates higher than initially planned if needed to slow rising prices, according to the Associated Press.

“If we have to raise interest rates more over time, we will,” Powell told the Senate Banking Committee, which is considering his nomination for a second four-year term, the wire service also reports. “High inflation is a severe threat to the achievement of maximum employment.”

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Nasdaq Expected to Underperform the S&P 500 for First Time in over Five Years

The Nasdaq Composite, a technology-heavy index of publicly-traded companies, is set to underperform the S&P 500 for the first time since 2016, according to CNBC.

The S&P 500, a stock market index consisting of the 500 largest publicly-traded companies in the U.S., climbed 28% in 2021 as of Monday, while the Nasdaq was up 23% on a year-over-year basis, according to CNBC. The S&P 500 previously beat the Nasdaq in 2016 and 2011.

The Nasdaq had a strong start to 2021, almost doubling the S&P 500 in February, CNBC reported. Trading slowed after the arrival of the COVID-19 vaccines, which boosted sentiment among investors that the pandemic was ending, reducing demand for remote work technology and other tech-focused goods.

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Inflation Hits Highest Level in 39 Years

Large crowd of people shopping during the holidays

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) increased 0.9% in November, bringing the key inflation indicator’s year-over-year increase to 6.8%, the highest figure in four decades.

The CPI’s increase is the largest increase in four decades, up from October’s 6.2% according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) report released Friday morning. Experts surveyed by CNBC projected inflation would increase 0.7% in November, translating to a 6.7% gain on a year-over-year basis.

“These are frighteningly high inflation numbers, the likes of which we haven’t seen for decades,” Allen Sinai, chief global economist and strategist at Decision Economics, Inc., told The Wall Street Journal.

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Experts Predict Less Economic Growth, Elevated Inflation for Years to Come

Woman shopping, going up escalator

A survey released Monday found that business experts expect prices and inflation to rise at elevated levels for years to come.

The National Association for Business Economics released the results of a survey of 48 economic experts who downgraded their growth predictions and projected elevated inflation through the second half of 2023, if not later.

“NABE Outlook survey panelists have ramped up their expectations for inflation significantly since September,” said NABE Vice President Julia Coronado, founder and president, MacroPolicy Perspectives LLC. “The core consumer price index, which excludes food and energy costs, is now expected to rise 6.0% from the fourth quarter of 2020 to the fourth quarter of 2021, compared to the September forecast of a 5.1% increase over the same period.”

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November Jobs Report Is One of the Worst Since Biden Took Office

The U.S. economy added 210,000 jobs in November, marking nearly the lowest number of jobs created in a month since President Joe Biden took office in January.

November’s jobs report was well below economists’ estimate of 573,000, according to CNBC. Additionally, unemployment fell to 4.2% from October’s 4.6% figure, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

The U.S. economy, still recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic but now subject to uncertainty related to the Omicron coronavirus variant, appeared to slow in momentum in November, The Wall Street Journal reported.

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Federal Reserve Study Contradicts Biden on Climate Risks to Banks

Joe Biden

The Federal Reserve concluded that weather disasters are “not very” bad for financial institutions despite the Biden administration’s warnings that climate change is an “emerging” threat to banks.

“We find that weather disasters over the last quarter century had insignificant or small effects on U.S. banks’ performance,” the report, published in November by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, stated. “This stability seems endogenous rather than a mere reflection of federal aid.”

The report added that extreme climate events “actually boosts profits” for larger banks because of increased loan demand. In addition, smaller banks are adept at avoiding mortgage lending in flood prone areas using local knowledge of the region they are based.

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Biden to Renominate Jerome Powell for Second Term as Federal Reserve Chair

Jerome Powell

President Joe Biden will renominate Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell to a second term leading the central bank.

The president, who was elected as a moderate, has faced pushback on Powell, who progressives feel is not tough enough on bank regulations or climate change policy.

Also in contention for the top job was Lael Brainard, who Biden will nominate to become the vice chair of the central bank’s board of governors.

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Fed Official Sees Inflation Slowing in 2022, Future Price Increases Wouldn’t Be ‘a Policy Success’

Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Richard Clarida said he expects the recent spike in inflation to dissipate as supply and demand imbalances ease and that future price increases in 2022 would cause problems for the central bank.

“I do continue to judge that these imbalances are likely to dissipate over time as the labor market and global supply chains eventually adjust and, importantly, do so without putting persistent upward pressure on price inflation and wage gains adjusted for productivity,” Clarida said in remarks prepared for delivery on Monday.

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Federal Reserve Scales Back Bond Purchases as Inflation Rises

The Federal Reserve announced Wednesday that it would begin scaling back its monthly bond purchases in November, marking the first step towards ending its pandemic stimulus as inflation surges.

The scaling of bond purchases, more commonly known as tapering, will start “later this month,” the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) said in a statement. The Federal Reserve will reduce its purchases by $15 billion each month — $10 billion less in Treasury bonds and $5 billion less in mortgage-backed securities — from the current $120 billion figure.

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Commentary: The Unemployment Rate Does Not Offer Guidance Now

The Labor Department’s official unemployment rate—the most well-known gauge of the labor market’s health—counts as unemployed only those who aren’t working but are actively seeking a job.

Yet there is very little that we can infer from the jobless rate about the health of the economy.  The unavoidable conclusion is that the only reason investors follow the calculation is because both Washington’s politicians and the Federal Reserve are expected to react to it.

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Federal Reserve Begins Taking Steps to Fight Growing Inflation

The Federal Reserve said in September that it would begin taking steps to combat growing inflation in the U.S. economy, according to notes from a Sept. 21 and Sept. 22 Open Market Committee meeting first obtained by The Wall Street Journal. 

The Federal Reserve will be scaling back its $120 billion monthly purchases of U.S. Treasury and mortgage securities due to the growing surge in inflation and strong consumer spending leading to heightened demand, according to minutes from a September meeting released Wednesday by the WSJ. The reduction in spending, commonly referred to as tapering, will begin in mid-November, and experts believe it could end by June, according to the meeting notes.

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Federal Reserve Governor Thinks Regulators Need to Tell Banks How to Deal with Climate Change

Federal Reserve Governor Lael Brainard believes financial regulators should tell banks how to tackle climate change as a way to monitor threats to the overall financial system, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Brainard outlined in a speech how the central bank should prepare for climate change events like flooding and wildfires, which she thinks could deliver a shock to the markets and economy.

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Inflation Hits Another Multi-Decade High After Fed Boosts Projection

A key economic index used by the Federal Reserve to measure inflation surged to another 30-year high in August as Americans continued to experience sticker shock.

The personal consumption expenditures (PCE) index increased 4.3% over the 12-month period ending in August, according to a Department of Commerce report published Friday. The figure represented the index’s highest increase since January 1991 when it surged at an annual rate of 4.5%, government data showed.

Minus energy and food prices, which are notoriously more volatile than other sectors, the PCE index increased at an annual rate of 3.6% in August, the Commerce Department reported. That is also the highest increase in more than 30 years.

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Federal Reserve Could Soon Lose Control of Inflation Like in 1960s, Economic Historian Says

Prominent economic historian Niall Ferguson said current inflation could be in line with where it was in the 1960s during the period that preceded a decade of high consumer prices, CNBC reported.

“What is interesting about disasters is that one can lead to another,” Ferguson said in a Friday interview with CNBC. “You can go from a public health disaster to a fiscal, monetary and potentially inflationary disaster.”

During the 1960s, inflation stayed low before shooting up in the 1970s, according to government economic data. Consumer prices ultimately peaked in 1980 before rapidly declining.

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Census, Fed Data on Minorities Challenge Critical Race Theory Narratives of White Suppression

Minorities have increased their mobility and financial standing over the last decade, according to federal data that challenges some of the narratives of the so-called Critical Race Theory spreading through schools and media.

While the Federal Reserve reports that “the typical white family has eight times the wealth of the typical black family and five times the wealth of the typical Hispanic family” it also acknowledges that African-American and Hispanic families have made significant gains.

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Key Inflation Measure Spikes Again, Hits Highest Level Since 1991

Person in white shirt, walking into Gap store

A consumer price measurement used by the Federal Reserve to track inflation spiked again in June and hit its highest level since 1991, government data showed.

The personal consumption expenditures (PCE) price index increased 4% over the 12 months between July 2020 and June, according to a Bureau of Economic Analysis report released Friday. Excluding volatile energy and food prices, the index spiked 3.5% in that same 12-month period.

The index increased 0.5% in June, in line with economists’ forecasts, CNBC reported.

“Inflation has increased notably and will likely remain elevated in coming months before moderating,” Federal Reserve Board Chair Jerome Powell said during a press conference this week. “As the economy continues to reopen and spending rebounds, we are seeing upward pressure on prices, particularly because supply bottlenecks in some sectors have limited how quickly production can respond in the near term.”

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Federal Reserve Chair: Inflation to be ‘Elevated for Months’

Jerome Powell

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell tried to calm lawmakers’ fears about rising inflation but also said it would probably remain elevated for months to come.

Testifying before Congress this week, Powell said the Federal Reserve was willing to step in to address the situation, but that inflation should level out next year.

“As always, in assessing the appropriate stance of monetary policy, we will continue to monitor the implications of incoming information for the economic outlook and would be prepared to adjust the stance of monetary policy as appropriate if we saw signs that the path of inflation or longer-term inflation expectations were moving materially and persistently beyond levels consistent with our goal,” Powell said in his prepared testimony.

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Red States Top Those with Lowest Unemployment Rates

"Come in, we're hiring!"

Republican-led states and Vermont reported the lowest unemployment rates in April, according to a new report by the U.S. Commerce Department. States led by Democratic governors recorded the highest jobless rates, according to the report.

Unemployment rates were lower in April in 12 states and the District of Columbia and stable in 38 states, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

States with the highest unemployment rates in April were Hawaii (8.5%), California (8.3%), New Mexico and New York (both at 8.2%), and Connecticut (8.1%). All five states with the highest unemployment are run by Democratic trifectas, meaning Democrats control the governor’s office and both houses of the state legislature.

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Senate Republicans Expand Investigation into ‘Woke Mission Creep’ of Federal Reserve

Federal Reserve

Senate Banking Committee Republicans have expanded an investigation into regional Federal Reserve banks over their alleged “woke mission creep.”

Republicans on the Senate Banking Committee sent letters to regional Federal Reserve banks in Minneapolis, Boston and Atlanta demanding a briefing with leaders and documents related to a recent “Racism and the Economy” initiative, GOP staffers said during a press briefing Monday morning. Engaging in political advocacy is out of the Fed’s purview, the letters said.

“Of course, racism is abhorrent and has no place in our society…. I recognize the interest in studying economic disparities along demographic lines, such as race and gender,” Banking Committee Ranking Member Pat Toomey wrote in the letters sent Sunday.

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Inflation Increasing Quicker Than Expected, Former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers Says

Larry Summers

Top American economist Larry Summers is sounding the alarm on rising U.S. inflation, saying that it is ticking up quicker than he originally expected.

Inflation is increasingly a more concerning and larger threat as consumer prices continue to rise, former National Economic Council Director and Treasury Secretary Larry Summers told Axios on Monday. He also criticized the Federal Reserve’s policies, suggesting that its decision to keep interest rates low could harm the economy.

“Data are pointing more towards higher inflation than I expected, and sooner,” Summers told Axios. “With more inflation signs sooner than I would have expected.”

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