The Big Question for the Fed This Week: Did We Make a Mistake?

Central bankers pride themselves on being the grown-ups of economic policy. They want it known they’re basing their decisions on sound economics rather than political considerations. They wish not to be pushed around by what traders in financial markets and cable news pundits want. Or even by the president of the United States. But what if the grown-ups make a mistake? This week, at a two-day policy meeting ending Wednesday, Federal Reserve policymakers will, implicitly, be discussing whether they’ve raised interest rates too much, too soon. The way things have…

Trump Is More Vulnerable to Democratic Attacks on Trade Than You Might Think

To President Trump, tariff “is a beautiful word indeed.” Just in the last few weeks, he increased tariffs on billions of Chinese imports and threatened Mexico with big new tariffs. His enthusiasm as trade-warrior-in-chief, though, has not been mirrored by the public. At least that is the conclusion to draw from opinion polling, which shows a rise in enthusiasm for trade deals — and suggests an opening that the Democratic presidential nominee could have in the 2020 election. That nominee could, strange as it may seem, have a pathway to…

How Democrats Are, and Aren’t, Challenging the Trump Economic Record

NASHUA, N.H. — Ask Democratic candidates for president how they would challenge President Trump’s boasts about the economy, and the initial response tends to be less an attack than a concession. “The overall numbers about G.D.P. or the stock market are great,” said Elizabeth Warren after a town hall here last week, before discussing long-term wage stagnation and health care costs. “Yes, we are at a moment of stability, and we’re at this moment of expansion,” said Amy Klobuchar at an economy-themed talk at Dartmouth, before saying that made it…

Why Markets Aren’t Sweating the U.S.-China Trade War Much: The ‘Trump Put’

The real question is not why the stock market is down this week. It is why it is down so little. After all, the world’s two largest economies have seemed to be hurtling toward a major escalation of their trade war. American officials have complained that Chinese negotiators have been playing a bait-and-switch, backing away from concessions they had agreed to. President Trump said the United States would raise its tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese imports to 25 percent from 10 percent on Friday, and begin taxing the remaining…