Political Animal


August 01, 2013 3:50 PM Could We Get Two Consecutive Days of Good Economic News?

By Ed Kilgore

When I saw the headline—“Jobless Claims in U.S. Fall to Lowest Level in Five Years”—I thought, Uh-Oh; if unemployment drops, “investors” will fear the end of the Fed’s bond-buying program, and markets will tank! Catch-22!

But it seems the toxic game between Ben Bernanke and his “investor” audience has now settled down after the latest meeting of the policy-making Federal Open Market Committee, as reported by Agustino Fontevecchia of Forbes:

After massive volatility in the aftermath of any word from the Chairman, the relative calm on Wednesday suggests investors have finally digested Bernanke’s taper message. The Fed will cut back on QE later this year as long as the economic outlook remains on track. Importantly, the Chairman has been trying to communicate to markets that tapering isn’t akin to tightening, as the Fed intends to keep the Federal Funds rate at record lows for several years.

I hope this means that if we get a decent July Jobs Report tomorrow, with the unemployment rate actually going down a tick, the markets won’t leap to the task of killing our modest buzz.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


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