Janet Yellen’s Hamlet act

October 28, 2015, 11:47 AM UTC
Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen Delivers Semiannual Report On The Economy To The Senate Banking Committee
Janet Yellen, chair of the U.S. Federal Reserve, speaks during her semiannual report on the economy to the Senate Banking Committee in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, July 16, 2015.
Photograph by Bloomberg via Getty Images

I’ve got to make an early breakfast in the city this morning, so I will keep this note short.

All eyes today are on the Federal Reserve, again, which will do nothing, again. They may hold to the notion that rates are going to rise before the end of the year, again, but that likely will be disrupted by further evidence of economic turbulence, again. For those of us on the outside, it is getting a little tedious.

Inside the marble walls, though, I suspect things have gotten tense. Fed officials are clinging to that flimsy reed known as the Phillips curve, which posits lower unemployment will lead to higher inflation and lies at the core of the Fed’s approach to policy. They can’t let go because they aren’t sure what to grab in its stead. We are in uncharted monetary policy waters, heading on seven years of zero interest rates, and no clear end in sight. There will be financial and economic consequences; we just don’t know yet what they are or when they will appear. Remarkable how hazy the “science” of macroeconomics remains.

If you are looking for alternatives to the Fed, check out this story about Barry Silbert’s new effort to fund bitcoin and other blockchain technologies.

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