The Federal Reserve, the body responsible for macroeconomic stabilization and Ron Paul's nightmares, is governed by a dual mandate: the maintenance of price stability and promotion of full employment. Since the economy is currently producing fewer goods and services than it's capable of, Chairman Ben Bernanke and other members of the Federal Reserve Open Market Committee have been engaging in expansionary monetary policy — though not aggressively enough, according to many economists — to boost nominal GDP and employment.
The downside of activist monetary policy is inflation. Though it's negligible now — the Consumer Price Index rose just 0.3 percent in March — Federal reserve policy can eventually increase the price of everything from house rentals to hooker rentals. Which I presume is where Senator, confirmed john and alleged diaper fetishist David Vitter comes in, with a hold on Barack Obama's two nominees to the Federal Reserve Board…
Sen. David Vitter (R., La.) has effectively blocked Senate confirmation of the nominees, Harvard University economics professor Jeremy Stein and former private-equity executive Jerome Powell. Wall Street firms have been quietly pressing Mr. Vitter to drop his objections, an aide to the senator said.
Senate leaders aren't expected to bring the nominees to the floor for debate, a potentially lengthy process unlikely to be welcomed by either party in an election year. The Senate generally confirms nominees through the faster process of unanimous consent. Unless Mr. Vitter changes his mind, the two Fed nominations are unlikely to advance.
Political Science research suggests election results are influenced in great measure by macroeconomic performance, so it's little wonder an Obama critic like Vitter would want to stave off a recovery. More than anyone else in the Senate, he has a keen understanding of "swing" voters.
As for the Democrats' ability to break the logjam, options for Harry Reid are limited. He can force the Republicans to engage in a full-scale filibuster, but Democrats are unlikely to corral the 60 votes needed for cloture. And even if Reid forced to Vitter to actually hold the floor in a marathon session without sleep or bathroom breaks, something that rarely happens in today's Senate, the outlook for Democrats remains grim. Though Vitter is well below the Senate's median age, he's one politician guaranteed to know how to put Depends to good use.
Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images News/Getty Images
Tags: Ben Bernanke, David Vitter, Federal Reserve, Senate, Unemployment
Video game addicts and Ron Paul supporters are two separate tribes. One group enjoys playing in well-crafted fantasy worlds in which gold coins often represent the main unit of value and absolutely anything can happen, no matter how absurd. The other guys like video games.
Now, thanks to programmer Daniel Williams, the fancifulness of Paul's campaign will meet with the hard-coded realism of gaming in The Road to REVOLution, a scrolling platformer designed in the style of Super Mario Brothers.
According to the game's Kickstarter page, which has already exceeded its fundraising goal, the user will assume the role of Ron Paul as he makes his way across 50 levels — one, for every state — collecting delegates and, of course, gold. Along the way, players will face 13 boss fights, "representing each branch of the Federal Reserve and a Final Boss."
While the game won't be ready until July, that's only an inconvenience for those of us who aren't on board with the Paul campaign. Many of his supporters are already regular visitors to the Mushroom Kingdom, if you know what I mean.
Tags: Federal Reserve, Republicans, Ron Paul, Video Games
* They pahked the wah on Christmas neah Hahvahd Yahd. (Click that link for the video, then meet me at Cumbie's to discuss.)
* Ron Paul signed Personhood USA's pro-life pledge, prompting Personhood USA to question Paul's commitment to the pro-life cause.
* Speaking of Ron Paul, there are two new Federal Reserve Board nominees for him to want audited/investigated/restrained in a basement.
* If you feel a little different later this week, it's because the president is having the national debt limit raised from $15.194 trillion to $16.394 trillion.
Tags: Abortion, Barack Obama, Boston, Christmas, Debt, Federal Reserve, Ron Paul
Earlier today, top Senate and House Republicans sent an heartfelt earnest plea to Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke to please please please consider doing absolutely nothing to boost the U.S. economy or make any attempt to do anything that might accidentally foster job growth…
Even though the financial markets have been counting on the Federal Reserve to take action, Republican Congressional leadership sent a letter to the Federal Reserve chairman on Tuesday evening urging it not to engage in further stimulus…
"We have serious concerns that further intervention by the Federal Reserve could exacerbate current problems or further harm the U.S. economy," said the letter, signed by four of the top Republicans in Congress: Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Senate Republican leader; Jon Kyl of Arizona, the Senate Republican whip; House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia.
It's a really inspiring letter. I strongly recommend reading the whole thing. I'm pretty sure that school children will be memorizing it instead of the Gettysburg Address in future generations.
But, you know, that Bernanke guy's a well known treasonist, and you just can't argue with those people. So, he went ahead and announced that the Fed would be buying $400 billion in bonds and selling as much in debt. Which, I'm assuming means something to somebody because stuff happened…
The dollar rebounded against the euro and other major currencies Wednesday after the U.S. Federal Reserve announced new plans to help boost the American economy.
The central bank said it will buy long-term Treasurys and sell short-term securities to help spur growth. The plan could lower rates for mortgages as well as those for consumer and business loans. The plan was expected by investors.
Well, that sounds good so far, but it's still waaaaay to early to tell. Hopefully — and I know we're all really pulling for this — there won't be any significant long term economic or employment benefits to Bernanke's plan.
Nothing aggravates an already dismal national mood more so than having to wake up early on a Monday morning and go to work. Ugh!
Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images News/Getty Images
Tags: Ben Bernanke, Eric Cantor, Federal Reserve, House of Representatives, John Boehner, Jon Kyl, Mitch McConnell, Republicans, Senate, Stimulus, Unemployment