When Standing Pat Not Enough For Jittery Investors

A couple hours ago I saw a report that the Fed had decided to stand absolutely pat on monetary stimulus at its latest policy meeting. Whoever drafts their deliberately tedious statements even tried to use the same language as in previous announcements, clearly to stress there was no news to worry about. Like Matt Yglesias, I thought: “Great: maybe all the weird global market gyrations will subside.”

But then Ben Bernanke held his traditional press conference, and let himself get talked into speculating about the future conditions under which these stimulative efforts would be slowly curtailed. Even as he spoke, stocks started to slide, and now it looks like you’d never know the Fed actually did nothing.

I’m aware my ignorance of the world of finance is significant, but still can’t get over the impression that the lordly investor class we are supposed to hold in awe as the creators of all good things often behaves like a gang of especially unstable adolescents.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.