Wednesday November 25, 2015
September 24th, 2015
My Bloomberg colleague Michael McKee asked a really good question at Janet Yellen's press conference Thursday: If the Federal Open Market Committee expects below- target inflation for years, why do most its members think a rise in interest rates before the end of this year is called for?
Towards the end of Wednesday's second Republican debate, as the plot began wrapping up but before the Eagles came to bear us up and away from Mount Doom (Mount Doom is presently situated at the Reagan Library, in front of a large, photogenic plane) a question was posed that will give most right-thinking viewers (and some left-thinking viewers) nightmares for weeks to come.
It was: What Secret Service code name would you choose for yourself?
Planned Parenthood! Government shutdown!
Anti-abortion politicians are in an uproar over videos that supposedly show Planned Parenthood representatives negotiating on prices for tissue from aborted fetuses. Carly Fiorina was passionate about the subject in this week’s Republican debate. Nothing she said was accurate, but nobody’s perfect.
“At a time when we want to compete around the world, it is hard to believe what is happening in the U.S. Congress,” said Jeff Immelt, the chief executive of General Electric.
“The ultimate irony is that we are on the verge of an American manufacturing renaissance,” bemoaned Jim McNerney, the chairman of Boeing. “Yet this action is causing companies to start looking outside the U.S. instead.”
The proposed combination of Anheuser- Busch InBev and SABMiller, already the world's two biggest brewers, would create a behemoth controlling a third of the world beer market. The U.K. market is a microcosm of the forces that are assailing the mass-market producers. Their instinct to merge is not just because of declining ale sales.
Try this thought experiment. Instead of leaving borrowing costs on hold at 0.25 percent when it met Thursday, suppose the Federal Reserve had instead raised its key interest rate to 3.25 percent. That, after all, was the average from 2004 to 2008, back when the economy was deemed to be normal. So if monetary policy normalization is the goal, maybe the U.S. central bank should get it over with in a single move and see what happens.
Every place is full of metaphors that beckon the unwary foreign journalist. America's huge cars are a metaphor for our people: brash, rich, more than a little heedless of our effect on the rest of the world. Before Britain got rich again, the dilapidated buildings were a metaphor for the decline of empire. French baked goods were a metaphor for everything liberal Americans imagined was better there.
Sorry, Republicans, but it's still Donald Trump's world. And sorry, Donald, but now you have to share it with Ben Carson.
The conventional wisdom seems to be that Carly Fiorina won herself a big patch of political territory in Wednesday night's marathon 11-candidate debate on CNN. But the conventionally wise have been consistently wrong about this campaign, and I wonder if voters were equally impressed with her performance.
To steady ourselves amidst the clamor of competing certainties about the meaning of Wednesday's Republican presidential debate, let us pause for a daily Scripture reading.
The first is from the opening verses of Ecclesiastes: "Vanity of vanities, says the preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity."