Matthew Rutherford played a key role as the Treasury navigated the global financial crisis, the first downgrade of U.S. government securities and a record budget deficit. What lies ahead for him will be much subtler.
“Fear of the unknown” fallout from Europe’s sovereign-debt crisis, similar to the concern at the start of the subprime-mortgage market collapse, is keeping volatility high in financial markets, according to Jim Bianco .
Washington is awash in scandals. The White House is fending off inquiries on three fronts: its response to the terrorist attack on a U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi; the Internal Revenue Service’s scrutiny of conservative groups seeking tax exemptions; and the Justice Department’s broad seizure of Associated Press phone records in a leak probe.
The U.S. urged China to reduce currency interventions and let markets play a bigger role in setting the value of the yuan, in a report that declined to name any major trading partner a foreign-exchange manipulator.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is taking flak from international policy types for his latest foray into quantitative easing. He had to defend his actions to economists and former policy makers at a Jekyll Island, Georgia, conference last week. He even had to submit to a “cease and desist” order from Mama Grizzly Fed Watcher extraordinaire, Sarah Palin .
It depends on where you look. Stocks within 3 percent of all-time highs and gold down 21 percent so far this year suggest there is little stress, while U.S. credit-default swaps tell a different story. They've spiked dramatically in the past several days.
The Federal Reserve announced at the conclusion of today's meeting that it will continue its maturity extension program, known as Operation Twist, through the end of the year. This time it plans to buy $267 billion of notes and bonds with maturities of six to 30 years, and to sell an equivalent amount of short- term bills and notes.