Maybe it’s just me, but there is something sort of bizarre about Federal Reserve board member William Poole’s dissent on last week’s rate cut, and then non-dissent on this week’s cut. In short, he dissented on the 75-basis-point cut, saying he wanted it to happen on the Fed’s regular schedule. And then he didn’t dissent on today’s 50-basis-point cut, even though the Fed had cut so much last week.
What are we to make of this? If Poole originally thought 125-basis points in cuts in a week was warranted, as he apparently does, based on today’s non-dissent, then he clearly thought the economy was in dire straits. But he didn’t want to make the cut last week, despite wanting 125-basis points in cuts.
Huh? Was he going to suggest that it all happen today, to stay on FOMC schedule? I doubt that. Was it that he liked 50 but not 75, but didn’t want to dissent twice in a row? That’s possible, but seems a little political, not to mention over-precise numerology. It’s also inconsistent, given that he didn’t dissent on last summer’s out-of-cycle cut.
About the only thing I can come up with is that Poole’s just obsessive-compulsive about dates — maybe he doesn’t like Mondays — and there was no damn way he was going to go along with any cuts that day. The economy be damned.