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Monday, December 09, 2019

Fed Leaves Policy Unchanged Despite Stronger Growth

@AFP

Washington (AFP) — The Federal Reserve on Wednesday stuck to its plan of holding its base interest rate near zero while steadily trimming its stimulus, despite a surprisingly strong second-quarter economic growth report.

The Fed as expected reduced its monthly bond purchases by $10 billion, taking the program to $25 billion a month, but said the low federal funds rate remains needed to support growth and improvement in the labor market.

In a statement at the end of a two-day policy meeting, the Federal Open Market Committee acknowledged that the economy shows “sufficient underlying strength” to support the recent gains in job creation and cutting unemployment.

However, it also suggested continued disappointment with the state of the jobs market, saying that various data “suggests that there remains significant underutilization of labor resources.”

But in a significant shift that recognizes the gains in the economy, the FOMC dropped its previous expression of concern over low inflation.

“The Committee sees the risks to the outlook for economic activity and the labor market as nearly balanced and judges that the likelihood of inflation running persistently below two percent has diminished somewhat.”

The statement came shortly after the Commerce Department reported that the economy grew at a 4.0 percent annual rate in the second quarter, rebounding solidly from the first quarter’s sharp contraction.

AFP Photo/Karen Bleier

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Tape of home invasion attack on Nancy Pelosi's husband Paul Pelosi

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Video released Friday of the harrowing home invasion and assault that nearly killed then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband in October brought little in the way of self-reflection or regret from far-right Internet trolls and Fox News stars who spent months baselessly insisting that the attack had actually resulted from a gay tryst gone wrong. Instead, the denizens of the right-wing conspiracy theory ecosystem either claimed that the new evidence proved that they were right all along, or used it to float additional conspiracy theories about why it hadn’t been released earlier.

The key facts were available within hours of the October 28, 2022, attack. Law enforcement swiftly alleged that David DePape broke into the Democratic leader’s home in the middle of the night seeking to harm her and pummeled her 82-year-old husband Paul, sending him to the hospital for emergency surgery. Journalists who reviewed DePape’s Internet history subsequently revealed that he had been radicalized online and espoused a wide array of right-wing conspiracy theories, including QAnon.

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