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Why Higher Interest Rates Aren’t Helping Your Savings Account

"Federal Reserve officials raised the benchmark lending rate to a range of 1 percent to 1.25 percent on Wednesday, the central bank’s third such move in six months. In the hours since the decision was announced, U.S. banks including Citigroup Inc., U.S. Bancorp and SunTrust Banks Inc. announced that they’ll pass on the higher interest rates to borrowers, without disclosing plans to provide better rates for deposit customers."

"After years of stubbornly low interest rates, U.S. banks have been slow to increase offers for deposit accounts. They are seeking to benefit from a fatter margin between what they charge for loans and what they pay out to customers who provide the funds."

Federal Fund Target Rates, June 14, 2011-17

The strengthening economy means the federal reserve has increased their target rate by a quarter point, which means they will take steps to tighten the money supply and force banks to lend at a higher rate. This is good news for people with savings accounts and bad news for people who are borrowing money. More about how the Fed sets market rates: https://www.thebalance.com/how-does-the-fed-raise-or-lower-interest-rates-3306127

Data Sources:
Federal Reserve issues FOMC statement, 6/14/17. https://www.federalreserve.gov/newsevents/pressreleases/monetary20170614a.htm

Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (US), Federal Funds Target Range - Lower Limit [DFEDTARL], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/DFEDTARL, June 14, 2017.

Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (US), Federal Funds Target Range - Upper Limit [DFEDTARU], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/DFEDTARU, June 14, 2017.

Partisan Politics Skew Americans’ Views On The Economy

"The pace of hiring in the U.S. slowed last month. Employers added just 138,000 jobs. But the unemployment rate dropped to 4.3 percent, the lowest it has been in 16 years.

The monthly snapshot from the Labor Department is one of the most closely watched indicators of the health of the economy.

No matter what the numbers actually say, how we feel about them is often colored by politics."

Inflation Rate, April 2007-2017

This graph looks at the percentage change in the Consumer Price Index compared to one year before. This is commonly known as the inflation rate, which is running around 2.19% as of April 2017. Due to food and energy considerations in the CPI, sometimes the CPI drops compared the previous years, especially in times of recession or lower oil prices.

Data Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers: All Items [CPIAUCSL], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/CPIAUCSL, June 2, 2017.

Producer Price Index, April 2007-2017

The Producer Price Index (PPI) is a weighted index of prices measured at the wholesale, or producer level. A monthly release from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the PPI shows trends within the wholesale markets (the PPI was once called the Wholesale Price Index), manufacturing industries and commodities markets. All of the physical goods-producing industries that make up the U.S. economy are included, but imports are not.

Data Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Producer Price Index for All Commodities [PPIACO], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/PPIACO, May 11, 2017.

Capitalism Is Violence

"United Airlines violently removed a passenger from an airplane earlier this week. The company had overbooked the flight, which is standard practice in the airline industry, and then failed to entice enough people to give up their seats by offering as much as $800 to anyone who would volunteer. The final solution to the conundrum of too many passengers and not enough seats was to demand certain passengers give up their seats. When one man refused, he was forced out."

"The video of the event, which showed the man being beaten and bloodied by the police, went viral and attracted nearly universal condemnation. But the condemnation that I’ve seen so far is very unclear about what the problem is. The video is violent and repulsive, but only insofar as all property and contract enforcement is. The forceful removal of the passenger is not an extraordinary aberration from our civilized capitalist order. Rather, it is an example of the everyday violence (and threatened violence) that keeps that capitalist order running."

Real (Inflation-Adjusted) Gross Domestic Product, 1929-2016

This interactive graph shows the real gross domestic product of the United States, inflation adjusted from 1929 through 2016. This graph shows that America is roughly 15% wealthier then in 2009, and 28% wealthier then in 2000. While it can be argued over the fairness of current wealth distribution patterns, and while per capita wealth has grown at a slower rate, it is clear that America has seen a dramatic growth of it's total wealth over recent years.

Data Source: https://www.bea.gov/iTable/iTable.cfm?ReqID=9&step=1#reqid=9&step=3&isuri=1&904=1929&903=3&906=a&905=2016&910=x&911=0