Category Archives: United States

Why the Fed didn’t and won’t raise rates

The Federal Reserve’s policy making body, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), met this week to discuss the state of the U.S. economy, and to determine whether it should raise interest rates.

The FOMC voted 9-1 against raising rates at this time, despite the official Fed statement including somewhat hawkish assessments about the U.S. and global economies.

Financial commentators and market participants are convinced that a December rate hike is all but guaranteed. The problem is that the unprecedented monetary policy conducted by the Fed over the last decade has boxed it into a corner from which it can’t easily escape.

So here’s why the Fed cannot, and will not, raise interest rates in December.

Congress gave the Fed a dual mandate to ensure price stability and maintain maximum employment. The idea is that the Fed can spur economic activity and boost employment by lowering interest rates in a slowing economy. Conversely, it can withdraw the monetary stimulus by raising interest rates, in effect cooling down an overheating economy.

Read the full article at Watchdog.org.

The Republican Candidates’ Muted Positions on Technology

Free market principles helped spur the development of both the Internet and the American tech sector. The notion of “permissionless innovation,” embraced by the Clinton administration when addressing the rising Internet in the mid-1990s, is the foundational ethos of software engineers, technology entrepreneurs, and Silicon Valley’s titans of innovation. Unfortunately, Republicans — the party most ideally poised to capitalize on this cultural environment — have failed to win over the Valley’s techies. This is something that needs to change if the party ever hopes to catch up with Democrats in the increasingly important technology space.

As I have previously pointed out, Republican presidential contenders have been woefully uninspired in their approaches to technology and innovation policy. This does not boil down to a fundamental disagreement with the tech sector. Rather, the root of the problem is twofold: poor messaging and lackluster outreach have rendered the Republicans second class players in the tech arena.

Read the rest on the Huffington Post here.

The Untenability of Libertarian Transphobia

Transgender people and issues are receiving more attention in media and policy spaces, but there seems to be some uncertainty from libertarians on how to go about approaching them in both personal and political contexts. This is odd from a group that boasted acceptance of same-sex unions long before the mainstream left or right and also professes a commitment to individual autonomy. Shouldn’t we also be at the forefront of the push for equal rights and social acceptance for trans people?

The hostility some libertarians have towards trans issues may stem from a conflation of transgender identities with progressive or leftist politics and social theory. Perhaps this is understandable given the more visible political aims of many in the trans community: Non-discrimination and hate crime legislation. But it is unreasonable to invalidate all trans identities, on personal or political levels, merely because one disagrees with the policy aims of some.

Being trans does not determine one’s politics, though it may indeed inform them. Assuming we are all Marxists is a collectivist assumption that erases our individual ethical and political identities. Such assumptions are also likely to force trans people into progressive or leftist spaces by creating an expectation that libertarians will not respect trans identities, let alone appreciate how particular trans experiences of state oppression might inform political leanings.

Read the rest on the Center for a Stateless Society here.