Every time the Federal Reserve meets, it’s important to remember the only real monetary policy tradition at the 107-year-old institution is that a bunch of people will get together and talk about markets and the economy and decide what to do next.
There’s never really any right or wrong answer for how to go about it; there’s only the decisions the top Fed officials end up making. The officials are broadly guided, of course, by economic theory and history, ostensibly a desire to provide stability and long-term growth, and perhaps a bit of politics from time to time. But the ad hoc-ness of it all is underscored by the reality that the officials are constantly changing their own rules.
In terms of the market reaction, this week’s Fed meeting was as ho-hum as they come. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index of large U.S. stocks slipped 0.5% on Wednesday as the central bank announced its latest incarnation of monetary policy. Gold was little changed. Bitcoin gained