New Federal Reserve Easing–Or Old?

The Fed announced this morning (Wednesday, Oct 29) that it's cutting the target Fed Funds rate by one half percent to one percent.  But look at the daily actual Fed Funds rate since July:


Fed Funds has already been trading below one percent for quite some time.  Also note how volatile the rate has been lately.  I'm not sure that the Fed wants this volatility; it may be very hard to manage the market during such a tumultuous period.

As a general rule of thumb, monetary policy takes about a year to show up in the economy.  Right now there's no one who thinks that lowers interest rates is THE solution to the problem.  However, lower rates won't hurt, and may help, and may be necessary for the Fed and Treasury to implement the bailout plan.  Still, the slogan for this is No Immediate Miracles (which is WIN turned upside down, for those of you who remember Gerry Ford's lapel buttons).

(Note, if you like data and don't want to download to Excel, the St. Louis Fed's data site offers easy-to-manipulate graphics.  Go here.)