The mandarins of the Federal Reserve speak in plain English? Never! Not without the help help of some very capable translators, that is.
Fortunately, we have just such a group in Jacob Goldstein of NPR's Planet Money and Slate. They teamed up to decipher the Federal Reserve's latest statement on its policies for the next six weeks. The result? A document that, as you click on individual sentences, switches from things like "employers remain reluctant to add to payrolls" to the plain-English "nobody's hiring." Likewise, "housing starts are at a depressed level" becomes "the construction business still sucks." Here are a couple more of our favorites:
Measures of underlying inflation are currently at levels somewhat below those the Committee judges most consistent, over the longer run, with its mandate to promote maximum employment and price stability. --> You know how we're always worried about high inflation? Now we're worried about low inflation. Crazy, right? ...
The Committee will continue to monitor the economic outlook and financial developments and is prepared to provide additional accommodation if needed to support the economic recovery and to return inflation, over time, to levels consistent with its mandate. --> We'll keep an eye on things, and if we need to create trillions more dollars out of thin air to bring down unemployment and pump up inflation, that's what we'll do. Boom.
There's a choice bit at the end where Goldstein translates the dissenting opinion of one Mr. Hoenig. Read the original: "given economic and financial conditions, Mr. Hoenig did not believe that continuing to reinvest principal payments from its securities holdings was required to support the Committee's policy objectives." Golstein's translation: "given his views on the economy and the banks, Mr. Hoenig thinks the Fed should chill out a little bit."
[Hat tip: The Browser]
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.