Graphs to make you go “Eeek!”

Courtesy of Ryan Avent.

This:

And this:

What we see in the first image is that even if one takes into account the unconventional monetary policy actions the Fed has used through this crisis, the federal funds rate target remains nearly 4 percentage points above the level at which you’d want it. And in the second image we see that the huge growth of the Fed’s balance sheet has basically done nothing to increase long-run inflation expectations. Inflation is no concern at all; in fact the Fed should be doing more.

As it stands, the question of the day is not what more the Fed should do but how long the Fed should wait before undoing.

If you have no opinion on these things then go and start learning about monetary policy and then start worrying about what the hell is going on.

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The International Security Forces-Afghanistan have got “no reports, no intel, nothing” on Patrick Mercer’s claims of the Taliban’s HIV Bombs

I wrote last week on Patrick Mercer’s bizarre claims that the Taliban were using HIV infected needles as booby traps and shrapnel for their improvised explosive devices.

Many other bloggers Septicisle, MacGuffin and Richard Bartholomew covered this story to (all recommended reading).

The Rumour Doctor dug a little deeper than I was able and discussed Marcer’s source with him.

“This is not a weapon as such,” Mercer said in a phone interview. “These are needles and razor blades which are put in position around probably dummy improvised explosive devices, so that anybody trying to lift one of these is likely to be scratched or cut.”

Mercer said he learned about these devices from British bomb disposal technicians training ahead of their deployment to Afghanistan. The technicians have been issued Kevlar gloves to counter the threat.

He could not say for certain whether the Taliban have used these devices.

“That wasn’t a question I asked directly, but I got the impression that these are certainly being employed by the Taliban, al-Qaida, etc.,” he said. “I’m not aware of any injuries that have been caused by it so far.” [Emphasis mine]

So unfounded was Mercer’s claim that the International Security Forces-Afghanistan had no idea “no reports, no intel, nothing” on Mercer’s alleged HIV bombs.

I remain highly sceptical on the likelihood of these existing. However, I am utterly convinced of the malfeasance of Patrick Mercer.