Trump Recovers, Then Infects Markets With Tweets… President Trump recovered enough from his bout with COVID-19 to return to the White House on Monday. On Tuesday he tweeted that he would no longer negotiate a new stimulus bill, which sent the markets lower.
What it means— Maybe it was better when President Trump was focused on his health rather than making policy decisions in 140 characters. The president’s recovery was swift and welcomed. The world breathed a sigh of relief that we did not end up with a power vacuum at the top of the U.S. political machine. As for his tweets regarding negotiating, he sort of retracted them on Tuesday evening, sending the Dow higher on Wednesday, for its best day in months. But there’s still no progress. While Trump offered to sign individual bills providing relief for the airlines and checks for Americans, House Speaker Pelosi hasn’t joined in.
In the background, Fed Chair Jay Powell again commented that the U.S. economic recovery will be much slower and much more difficult without another round of significant government spending.
Minutes of Latest Fed Meeting Show Many Governors Not Comfortable With the New Policy… Officially, the bankers voted 8-2 for the guidance policy, but several nonvoting members weren’t sure of the policy, either.
What it means— In the meeting, the central bankers went back and forth over how strong of a commitment they would make to hold interest rates at zero until inflation reached 2%. Some governors wanted the central bank to take a firm stand, which would send the strongest signal to the markets that short-term rates will remain exceptionally low for years. Others wanted the bankers to remain vague, which would increase their flexibility to react to new circumstances. For investors, it was a bit of a non-event. The bankers might not have agreed on everything, but in general they didn’t expect to raise rates until inflation reaches 2% and stays at or above that level for some time. That doesn’t seem likely this year… or next.
States That Overpaid Unemployment Benefits Want Their Money Back…With more than 30 million people receiving benefits at some point, there were bound to be mistakes. Now states are sending due bills to reclaim excess benefits.
What it means— Imagine the unwelcome surprise as you are looking for a job or just starting a new one of receiving a bill from your state unemployment insurance fund demanding repayment of thousands of dollars. To be fair, most states will forgive overpayments if the state made the mistake, but that’s usually not the case. Typically, overpayments stem from the recently unemployed filling out the forms incorrectly. Those funds must be repaid.
Now there’s a new wrinkle. The federal government offers Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) benefits for those who aren’t covered by state unemployment programs. Because the PUA funds come out of the disaster relief fund bucket, there’s no provision in the law for forgiving overpayments. If a beneficiary receives too much money from the PUA program through no fault of their own, they are still required to repay the money.
Mathematical Association of America (MAA) Declares Mathematics Racist… The MAA is a large association of mathematicians and related professionals. In a message from its leadership on October 2, the organization wrote:
“It is time for all members of our profession to acknowledge that mathematics is created by humans and therefore inherently carries human biases. Until this occurs, our community and our students cannot reach full potential. Reaching this potential in mathematics relies upon the academy and higher education engaging in critical, challenging, sometimes uncomfortable conversations about the detrimental effects of race and racism on our community [emphasis in original text]. The time is now to move mathematics and education forward in pursuit of justice.”
The document didn’t explain how numeration or the manipulation of numerical sequences are racist just said that, as human conventions, they must be.
Data supplied by HS Dent Research
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