Fed Releases Minutes Early After Giving Them to Hill Staffers, Lobbyists

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federal reserve stimulus board of governors FOMC minutes
Joeff Davis/Bloomberg via Getty ImagesFederal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke speaking Monday at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta 2013 Financial Markets Conference in Stone Mountain, Ga.
WASHINGTON -- Federal Reserve policymakers are divided over when to end extraordinary measures intended to encourage more borrowing and spending to help stimulate the U.S. economy, according to minutes of the Fed's last meeting released Wednesday.

The minutes of the Fed's March 19-20 meeting were released at 9 a.m. EDT -- five hours earlier than planned -- after the Fed inadvertently sent them a day earlier to congressional staffers and lobbyists.

The report showed that a few members want to end "relatively soon" a program that is spending $85 billion a month to purchases bonds. Those members say the costs likely outweigh the benefits. A few others saw the risks as increasing quickly and said the purchases would likely need to be reduced "before long."

Many members said an improved job market could lead them to slow purchases within a few months, and a few said economic conditions would likely justify continuing the program until late this year.

Despite the division over when to end the program, the minutes indicated that many of the Fed's members want to see sustained improvement in the job market -- from a wide range of economic indicators -- before making any decision to reduce the pace of purchases.
After the March meeting, the Fed said the economy had strengthened but that it still needed its efforts to help lower high unemployment. In addition to continuing the bond purchases, the Fed stuck by its plan to keep short-term interest rates at record lows at least until unemployment falls to 6.5 percent.

The economy had added an average of 220,000 jobs a month from November through February, including 268,000 jobs in February -- the last report available when the Fed met in March.

But a weak March employment report is likely to make policymakers even more supportive of keeping the measures in place for the foreseeable future. Employers added just 88,000 net jobs last month, the fewest in nine months.

The unemployment rate dropped to a four-year low of 7.6 percent. However, the rate fell only because more people stopped looking for work and were no longer counted as unemployed.


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26 Comments

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drmaxchartrand

Very dangerous and short sighted policies, all.

April 11 2013 at 2:13 AM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
leighfoulkes314

If there surplus were to end tomorrow i bet the economy will flop in a months time or less. America's economy doesn't make any sense to me, the majority of manufacturing jobs (mostly military contracts) get all there money form our government, to which they need to go into debt in order pay and in order to continue and not crash they need to continue spend money they don't have?

April 11 2013 at 1:09 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
baldbiker2

The Fed sends their minutes to lobbyists? Wow, what a convenient service. And people say the Fed Govt isnt a bought institiution.

April 10 2013 at 11:13 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
contactjohn

Stop the FED, end the FED, the FED is the fraud, the FED pumps the economy then dumps the economy this is what "They" call the business cycle all controlled by these interest control freaks going all the way back to Jesus, end the FED, end the wars for profits, end the FED.

April 10 2013 at 5:47 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
donut999

We are far enough down this road that the issue might be more about the need to continue at all. The goal from the git go was to keep rates very low. They are, and it seems unlikely they will be pushed up if the Fed discontinues. The "world", including domestic U.S. investors seems more than happy to own our paper "treasuries" at kick in the groin returns. The benchmark 10 year just keeps going lower and lower. Short term paper is returning a song, but the world cannot get enough of it. Probably time to pause, can always engage a new round of QE later if it seems needed.

April 10 2013 at 5:23 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
scottee

printing and diluting our dollar is not a minor blunder.
a dollar based on nothing is not a minor blunder.
holding down interest rates artificially is not a minor blunder.
manipulating gold prices and stock prices and buying your own bonds is not a minor blunder.

April 10 2013 at 3:23 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
John

They will end the artificial control of the economic factors the day Obama leaves office.. so the results of the policies he has put in place which will cause the next recession can be blamed on the next guy..

April 10 2013 at 3:16 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to John's comment
scottee

I don't know. they were doing under the Bush administration.
The Fed needs to be audited and ended. or just ended.

April 10 2013 at 3:24 PM Report abuse +7 rate up rate down Reply
tmlbtb

I guess we know who runs our country. The Lobbyists! And we wonder why Wall St. is doing so good and Main St. isn'!

April 10 2013 at 2:52 PM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to tmlbtb's comment
scottee

congress chooses that...we choose congress....hmmmm....

April 10 2013 at 3:24 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
the aol experien

Their actual existence, is the real problem for America.

April 10 2013 at 2:49 PM Report abuse +7 rate up rate down Reply
sandyman86

I am not taking sides on this one, but just for kicks and giggles, look at these politicians net worth when they took office and then look at their present net worth, mmm, mmm, mmm. Yes a few were very wealthy before, but I am speaking about the vast majority who can't even read a balance sheet.

April 10 2013 at 2:22 PM Report abuse +8 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to sandyman86's comment
lasml

Yes, you are right and you can add Obama to that also. He is now considered a 1% and before office he did not have as much money. Funny also and they just say it is the Republicans.

April 10 2013 at 2:56 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
scottee

yep, my senator is retiring with a $45 million net worth. that is NOT service. what to do?

April 10 2013 at 3:25 PM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply