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Essay on Fed and Interest Rates

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The Fed and Interest Rates

Dave Pettit of The Wall Street Journal writes a daily column that appears inside the first page of the journal's Money & Investment section. If the headlines of Mr. Pettit's daily column are any accurate record of economic concerns and current issues in the business world, the late weeks of March and the early weeks of April in 1994 were intensely concerned with interest rates. To quote, "Industrials Edge Up 4.32 Points Amid Caution on Interest Rates," and "Industrials Track On 13.53 Points Despite Interest-Rate Concerns." Why such a concern with interest rates? A week before, in the last week of March, the Fed had pushed up the short-term rates. This
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The Dow took huge dips, falling as much as 50 points a day. Although no one knows exactly what influences the market, the increase in interest rates played a major role in this craziness. Mr. Pettit's column on March 25th highlights, "Industrials Slide 48.37," Mr. Pettit attributes a large portion of the market's "tailspin" at this time to, "Rising interest rates at home." It is certainly no coincidence that these two events happened at the same time.

Alan Greenspan, the current chairman of the Fed comes under great attack and praise with every move the Fed makes. He is, in a sense, the embodiment of the Fed. He has been in charge of the Fed since 1987. Some economists blame him for the recession of the early nineties. His influence on the interest rates as chairman of the Fed is monumental. It is his combined job as the Fed to steer the economy in a balanced manner that does not yield too much to inflation and to keep growth steady. Predictably, most economists are back seat drivers when it comes to watching the actions of Allen Greenspan, and they tend to feel they could much more successfully manage the economy than he. Many also agree with his tactics, so it is a two way street on which the chairman is forced to drive.

It seems that not only the analysts are in disagreement of how the fed should
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