Economists: A Brick Wall for the Fed?
In the wake of the Bank of England’s recent moves to stabilize the pound, “we must ask what blame central banks bear for financial markets’ current fragility,” Raghuram G. Rajan & Viral Acharya warn at Project Syndicate. After “years of quantitative easing (QE) — when central banks buy long-term bonds from the private sector and issue liquid reserves in return —” the banks started to reverse course “and liquidity seems to have vanished in the space of just a few months.” It appears “the financial sector has become dependent on easy liquidity,” so that even modest quantitative tightening (QT) to reduce inflation quickly brings “malfunctioning of the government bond market” — forcing new QE action to avoid financial collapse. This dilemma “could prolong the fight against inflation.”
Culture critic: Sit Down, Already!
“Returning to the theater after a pandemic-induced hiatus was something I wanted to stand up and cheer — until the very end of the performance, when all I wanted was the right to remain seated,” quips Maggie Mulqueen at NBC News Think. Standing ovations have “gone from rare to common, which makes it hard to acknowledge an actual masterpiece.” This might be “an extension of the ‘everyone gets a trophy’ culture. And if today’s audience grew up knowing only standing ovations,” they “can seem as appropriate to them as knowing not to clap between movements at the symphony feels to my generation.” But as the fall cultural season opens, “I hope others will join me in standing up to the social pressure by staying seated.”
Energy beat: The West’s Road to Ruin
President Biden blames high gas costs on “Putin’s price hike,” but Emmet Penney at The Spectator documents how “the world’s energy crisis began to take effect last year,” before Russia invaded Ukraine. “Post-Covid demand rebound, a wind drought in Europe and depleted fossil fuel storage” as well as “overinvestment in unreliable renewables” and “nuclear plant closures” provided “everything you need” for an energy crunch. And “don’t be fooled into thinking America is immune from the crisis.” It needs to embrace “energy realism” by boosting fossil fuels, pipelines and nuclear plants and dropping incentives for unreliable renewable energy. The choice: Let “bureaucrats decide when we get to run our washers and dryers” or “enjoy the freedom to pursue our own interests.”
COVID watch: Rand Paul’s Lonely Good Fight
“Washington has bowed to the CDC’s Covid edicts,” observes City Journal’s John Tierney, but Sen. Rand Paul has “never tired of challenging the agency” as he offers “policy prescriptions and better scientific guidance than [Anthony] Fauci, the CDC, or the media” on mask mandates and the lab-leak theory. Indeed, in his exit interview with Science magazine, Fauci claimed the best response would have been simply calling Paul “a jerk.” “Fortunately, Paul aims to be even more of a jerk in the future,” having “promised to subpoena Fauci’s records and bring Fauci out of retirement to answer more questions” if the GOP takes the Senate. Yes, “it won’t be easy holding the public health bureaucracy accountable,” but “thanks to Rand Paul” it still might happen.
From the right: Musk, Twitter & Free Speech
“The news that Elon Musk wants to go forward with the purchase of Twitter has led to a virtual panic among media, political and academic figures worried that free speech could shortly break out,” snarks Jonathan Turley at USA Today. “Censorship culture has not only become deeply embedded at Twitter but also on other social media platforms.” Current Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal “has pledged to regulate content as ‘reflective of things that we believe lead to a healthier public conversation.’ ” Now, “adoption of First Amendment standards would get Twitter largely out of the censorship business.” For all of Musk’s accomplishments, “restoring free speech to social media would rank as his greatest gift to humanity.” With Elon in charge, “it would not be ‘Twitter as we know it,’ and that would be a great thing.”
— Compiled by The Post Editorial Board