The Federal Reserve made news this past week in two separate events. The first came with the Fed’s policy meeting on Wednesday, when the central bank gave no hint that it would taper or slow its QE bond purchases any time soon. Wall Street believes the Fed will taper in September. My thought is that tapering is likely to come in December, or perhaps not until the new year. (More on that logic in a moment.)
The other big Fed event occurred when President Obama gave a strong defense of his former top economic advisor, Larry Summers. In front of a full caucus of House Democrats, Obama offered a full-throated rebuttal to the attacks of left-wing and feminist groups who have been coalescing around current Fed vice chair Janet Yellen. Obama told the Democrats “not to believe everything you read in the Huffington Post.”
Of course, with Ben Bernanke’s term ending in January, this all about the debate over a successor to the Fed chair. It’s a timely topic. But here’s the problem for Mr. Summers: Even though Obama has yet to make a choice on the matter, the president’s strong defense of Summers reduces the likelihood that Summers will be appointed. Why? Because Summers now looks like Obama’s man, even if the president hasn’t yet said so.
Read my full column here.