This week the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) of the Federal Reserve will meet to consider the next phase of monetary policy. The Fed, through the policy decisions of the FOMC, has been engaged in a policy known as "quantitative easing", or QE. You would not be too far off the mark if you interpret QE as the equivalent of printing money. The Fed has been slowly reducing QE for the past year, and it is expected to finish QE this fall. You may wonder what all the attention on the Fed is about, and how the Fed's actions affect the economy, and possibly your own family?
The Fed controls the money supply; essentially the amount of cash on hand, and in bank accounts. They attempt to maintain the money supply at just the right level; enough to facilitate transactions in the economy, but not so much that prices start to rise out of control. As a rule, the Fed aims to manage the money supply so that prices rise two percent per year. They hope that two percent inflation is just the right level to facilitate necessary price adjustments, but will not distort the economy too much.
Prior to the financial crisis, the Fed controlled the money supply by raising and lowering short-term interest rates. Raising short-term rates would reduce the money supply, while lowering short-term rates would increase the money supply. (It is more intuitive if you think of the causality going in the other direction.) Since 2009, short-term interest rates have been near zero. It is difficult to lower interest rates below zero. (But not impossible-there are negative interest rates afoot in Europe today.) So the Fed has used QE, in the face of zero percent short-term interest rates, as the mechanism to increase the money supply. more >>
Open enrollment for Obamacare, beginning on November 15th, is rapidly approaching. This means time is running out for hopes that transparency will be brought to abortion coverage in Obamacare plans on the exchanges.
Isn't that what the President said Obamacare was really all about; giving people healthcare choice?
The Family Research Council has been actively researching healthcare plans on the state exchanges in an effort to identify whether pro-life plan options are available to individuals, how readily available the information is to the consumer and if there is transparency regarding how much a consumer is paying for abortion coverage in their healthcare plan. more >>
President Barack Obama said with confidence in Wednesday night's prime-time presidential address that he considers hunting down terrorists organizations like the Islamic State to be a "core principle" of his presidency. However, the plan Obama presented the nation to combat the terrorist group ISIS, also known as ISIL, in Syria and Iraq has received heavy criticism from both sides of the political aisle and from ranking officials in the Defense Department.
Many members of the GOP criticized Obama because they felt the plan is not strong enough or lacks the proper details to prove it will "degrade and ultimately destroy" the terrorist group like the president has vowed, Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, told reporters on Thursday.
Although Obama said he will continue airstrikes in Iraq and begin airstrikes in Syria, he ruled out sending combat troops to fight on the ground. But many Republicans need to see some kind of action on the ground, Boehner said. And, Obama's "isolated counter terrorism" efforts will not fully defeat "an enemy that has declared a holy war against America," he added. more >>
WASHINGTON — The day after U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, was heckled at a Christian event aimed at bringing Christians together over the plight of persecution in the Middle East, some speakers at the event addressed the disruption.
Rateb Rabie, president of the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation, sounded critical of Cruz for his mention of Israel and the event sponsors for the lack of Palestinian Christian voices. Nina Shea, director of the Hudson Institute's Center for Religious Freedom, appeared to be more critical of those who disrupted the speech while calling for greater unity around the issues that they agree on. They were both on a Thursday morning panel, "Changing Policy Through Awareness and Advocacy," for the In Defense of Christians Inaugural Summit. more >>
Today our country is in the midst of a battle for survival. We face a well-armed and well-funded terror army, Islamic State, which has grown to 31,500 fighters, including 2,000 from Western nations.
In his recent national address, President Obama outlined a more aggressive approach to attack the terrorists in Iraq and Syria. Unfortunately, battling the terrorists in the Middle East is not enough. Due to our open border, there is little doubt the terrorists have infiltrated this nation.
While the President talks tough about bombing Islamic State terrorists, he will not address the border crisis. Because of this inaction, Texas Governor Rick Perry has been forced to send his National Guard troops to border locations. more >>
This is my third consecutive column about the shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old black youth, by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri.
I have focused on this because the circumstances that led to this tragedy point to more than narrow, parochial concerns of low-income minority communities. They point to things fundamentally wrong in America that are dragging us all down.
Hopefully, remedial measures will be adopted that will lower the likelihood that a police officer will reduce a black youth to a racial stereotype and kill him. more >>