Fed officials: Current monetary policy is appropriate

FILE – This Feb. 5, 2018, file photo shows the seal of the Board of Governors of the United States Federal Reserve System at the Marriner S. Eccles Federal Reserve Board Building in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

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UPDATED 2:20 PM PT — Friday, February 21, 2020

The Federal Reserve is expected to hold interest rates steady throughout 2020 as the U.S. economy continues to expand.

The presidents of the Atlanta Fed and St. Louis Fed have spoken out about their hopes for the future. Both officials have said they see the current growth pattern continuing throughout this year and feel that monetary policy is in a good place to sustain the current expansion.

“We’re going to be at 2-2.25 percent, employment is going to continue to be strong, (and) inflation is not going to be a significant problem,” stated Raphael Bostic. “As long as that’s going on, the economy can just roll along as it has been.”

Wall Street has taken a hit amid growing fears of the deadly coronavirus, but both officials believe the economic impact of the outbreak will only be a temporary shock to the U.S.

“There’s a high probability that the coronavirus will blow over as other viruses have, be a temporary shock and everything will come back,” stated James Bullard. “There’s a low probability that this could get much worse (and) markets have to price that in, (which) drags the center of gravity down a little bit.”

The Federal Reserve cut interest rates three times in 2019 and has held steady at a range of 1.5 to 1.75 percent in its last two meetings. The bank is forecasting no rate changes through at least the end of the year.

MORE NEWS: Poll: 77% Of Americans Trust Federal Government To Handle COVID-19

Original Article

Trump camp fumes over Google’s new political ads policy: ‘It is a removal of free speech’

closeTrump campaign manager Brad Parscale rips Google's political ad policyVideo

Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale rips Google's political ad policy

Social media companies change political ad policy; Kristin Fisher reports.

For a digital-first campaign, with a digital expert at the helm, Google’s new political ads policy was an unsurprising, but unwelcome move.

“It is a removal of free speech. It is a voter suppression activity,” Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale said in an interview with Fox News at the campaign’s headquarters in Virginia.

Google is severely limiting a tactic used by almost all campaigns, but perfected in 2016 by the Trump campaign: microtargeted ads aimed at very specific groups of people. Parscale believes the change in policy is payback for President Trump’s victory.

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“2016 freaked them out because I used a whole bunch of liberal platforms to do it,” Parscale said. “I guarantee you, this decision came from another room full of people going, ‘Oh my God, we’ve got to stop them. They're going to win again in a landslide and we can't be part of it.'”

Starting in January, Google, which also owns YouTube, will only allow political advertisers to target voters using age, gender and zip code. They will no longer be able to get as granular by aiming ads at users based on their political affiliations or public voter record — even if those users have asked the campaign to contact them.

“It would almost be like [if] AT&T had all the lists of all the Trump supporters in America, and AT&T said, ‘Oh, you can't dial their phones,’ I mean, it's crazy,” Parscale said.

Google attributed the change in policy to a desire to improve voters’ confidence in political ads on its platforms.

“We want the ads we serve to be transparent and widely available so that many voices can debate issues openly,” the company said.

Many Democrats also dislike Google’s new policy, but for different reasons. Acronym, a progressive digital group, called the new rules outrageous, saying: “It’s clearly a PR move unrelated to the actual problem of misinformation on their platform — they’ll still allow the Trump campaign to outright lie in their advertising.”

Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren’s deputy press secretary, Saloni Sharma, also thinks the change is “just lip-service and does not actually solve the problem.”

Parscale maintains that none of the campaign’s ads have been misleading or factually inaccurate, even the controversial ad about former Vice President Joe Biden — which Biden’s campaign manager claimed “spread false, definitively debunked conspiracy theories.”

“This all started because people didn't think the Biden Ukraine ad was true,” Parscale said. “It was 100 percent true. Did Biden say quid pro quo for Ukrainian aid? Yes. He said it on tape.”

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Many Democrats also dislike Google’s new policy because they believe it will end up hurting Democrats more than Republicans. Ninety-five Democratic digital operatives and strategists signed a post on Medium arguing that if Google takes away their ability to focus ad dollars on unregistered voters, “Democratic organizations and campaigns are at a severe disadvantage.”

When asked which party is hurt the most by Google’s new policy, Parscale replied: “I think it hurts America. These are new tech ways of stopping connections. If I went on TV right now and said, ‘The telephone companies aren't allowing me to call people,’ all heck would break loose. Right? It's exactly what they did. They just did it with a different connection.”

Google said it knows political operatives on both sides of the aisle are upset. But in a statement to the Daily Caller, the company said: “We believe the balance we have struck — allowing political ads to remain on our platforms while limiting narrow targeting that can reduce the visibility of ads and trust in electoral processes — is the right one.”

Original Article

Trump administration’s new food stamp policy stirs debate over work requirements

closeHow the Trump administration's new food stamp restrictions may affect certain statesVideo

How the Trump administration's new food stamp restrictions may affect certain states

The Trump administration last week proposed a new rule implementing work requirements for those in the Supplemental Nutrition Program, or SNAP. Conservative columnist and author Tom Basile argues policies like these are why President Trump was elected while Coalition on Human Needs Executive Director Deborah Weinstein counters that the latest announcement is just another addition to the Trump administration's unrelenting attack on low-income people in need of food assistance.

The Trump administration's proposal to tighten work requirements for food stamp recipients has ignited a debate over benefits for low-income people and cuts to government spending.

Last week, the administration proposed a new rule targeting the Supplemental Nutrition Program, known as SNAP, which feeds more than 36 million people. The plan will limit states from exempting work-eligible adults from having to maintain steady employment in order to receive benefits.

WHITE HOUSE TIGHTENS FOOD STAMP REQUIREMENTS, POTENTIALLY AFFECTING HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE

Hundreds of thousands of people who rely on the program could be adversely impacted, critics of the proposal say.

In an interview with Fox News, Coalition on Human Needs Executive Director Deborah Weinstein argued that the latest announcement is just another example of the Trump administration’s attacks on low-income people in need of assistance. Weinstein said President Trump’s food stamp proposal “will take the poorest of the poor and deny assistance to nearly 700,000 of them, and that means there'll be more hunger, and less access to food."

Conservative columnist and author Tom Basile, however, argued that policies like these are why Trump was elected, saying it will not only encourage self-sufficiency, but it will save taxpayers dollars. The Agriculture Department has claimed it could save $5.5 billion over five years.

“This is what the president was elected to do. To reform the federal bureaucracy, to cut taxes, to help create an environment where people can get jobs, not just have these programs, and not just have a handout.”

— Tom Basile

“This is what the president was elected to do,” said Basile. “To reform the federal bureaucracy, to cut taxes, to help create an environment where people can get jobs, not just have these programs, and not just have a handout.”

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue last week argued the move would encourage self-sufficiency and employment.

"Government can be a powerful force for good, but government dependency has never been the American dream. We need to encourage people by giving them a helping hand but not allowing it to become an indefinitely giving hand,” Perdue said.

Weinstein argued that calling the food stamps a “handout” is a mischaracterization and that they provide a modicum of stability in the lives of America’s very poor.

“The food assistance America’s poor get, which is very modest, around $160 a month, helps them stabilize their lives just a little bit,” Weinstein said. “It makes work more possible, and by cutting that away from them, work will be even harder.”

Trump administration set to tighten work requirements for food stampsVideo

Both Weinstein and Basile offered words of advice to the Trump administration. Basile advised highlighting fiscal responsibility, the low unemployment rate, and job openings across the country.

“For the Trump administration to say that we want to try to responsibly bring down the number of people who are on food stamp programs, if they are able-bodied adults, is not only the responsible thing, but will save taxpayers billions of dollars,” said Basile. “It will contribute to the ultimate goal of greater stability and economic prosperity.”

Weinstein, however, argued that the SNAP is a basic aid that helps secure people’s lives.

“That ought to remain the underpinning for moving people to more stable employment in a strong economy,” said Weinstein. “It should be especially a time when we offer training and support to people. So if there are jobs they can take, they can connect to them.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Original Article