👋 Away Message: So we had a little scheduling snafu here at WTF HQ, where both myself and Joe (voice of the pod) double-booked ourselves with personal and professional obligations next week. Oopsie! Not a very great job using a calendar on my part, I guess. On the other hand, it appears the government isn't going to be open for business anyway... Unless something truly WTF-y happens, I'll see you all again on Tuesday, October 10th, because Monday is a holiday (Indigenous Peoples' Day).
In the mean time, try our little news aggregator tool – currentstatus.io – to keep you up-to-date on the daily shock and awe. Thanks for understanding and for being here. I'm going to miss you.
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1/ Federal Reserve officials agreed to hold interest rates steady after 10 consecutive increases “in light of how far we have come in tightening policy, the uncertain lags in which monetary policy affects the economy, and the potential headwinds from credit tightening.” The decision keeps the benchmark federal funds rate in a target range between 5% and 5.25% – a 16-year high. Fed officials, however, expect to raise rates two more times this year to bring the interest rates up to 5.6% to get inflation back to 2%. The Fed anticipates that inflation will be 3.2% at the end of 2023 and at 2.5% by the end of 2024. (Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal / Axios / New York Times / Washington Post / CNBC / CNN)
- 💡 Explain like I’m Five: The Federal Reserve raises interest rates to curb inflation by making borrowing more expensive, which reduces spending and lowers demand for goods and services. High inflation erodes the value of money over time, resulting in a decrease in purchasing power. When borrowing costs are high, it becomes more expensive for people to take out loans for large purchases, such as homes, cars, or education. High borrowing costs also deter businesses from taking on debt to expand or invest in research and development, which limits innovation.
2/ At least 11 state have enacted 13 restrictive voting laws in 2023 so far. Two more restrictive voting bills in two states are awaiting the governors’ approval. At least 13 states, meanwhile, have enacted 19 laws that make it easier to vote. (CNN / Brennan Center)
3/ A Fox News chyron referred to Biden as a “wannabe dictator” who had “his political rival” arrested – hours after Trump pleaded not guilty to 37 federal charges related to his handling of classified documents after he left office and his refusal to return them. A chyron is the on-screen text that highlight the latest news. Fox briefly aired the side-by-side visual of Trump’s speech from his New Jersey Golf club and Biden speaking at the White House earlier in the day. The message was onscreen for 27 seconds. PBS, meanwhile, added a cautionary chyron to Trump’s New Jersey speech: “Experts warn that inflammatory rhetoric from elected officials or people in power can prompt individual actors to commit acts of violence.” (Associated Press / Washington Post / New York Times)
Republicans privately acknowledge Trump’s legal woes are serious this time. “An operative in Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ orbit, who requested anonymity to speak candidly without approval from higher-ups, said that ‘from an objective standpoint,’ the federal charges Trump faces for his post-presidency handling of classified documents are far more serious than the earlier ones around hush money payments before the 2016 election.” (NBC News)
G.O.P. Rivals See Trump’s Indictment as a Big Problem (for Them). “An all-indictment, all-the-time news diet could swallow the summer, denying attention to other Republican candidates who need it like oxygen.” (New York Times)
Jack Smith’s Backup Option. “Donald Trump was indicted in Florida. Could he also face charges in New Jersey?” (The Atlantic)
Judge in Trump Documents Case Has Scant Criminal Trial Experience. “Judge Aileen M. Cannon, under scrutiny for past rulings favoring the former president, has presided over only a few criminal cases that went to trial.” (New York Times)
4/ House Democrats killed a Republican effort to censure Adam Schiff and fine him $16 million for investigating allegations that Trump’s 2016 campaign colluded with Russia. The chamber voted 225-196-7 to table the resolution, with 20 Republicans joining with Democrats. The resolution sought to fine Schiff half the cost of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Trump and Russia’s alleged ties. The censure resolution was sponsored by GOP Rep. Anna Paulina Luna of Florida, who claims that Schiff “exploited his positions on [the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence to encourage and excuse abusive intelligence investigations of Americans for political purposes.” Luna also accused Schiff of having “used his position and access to sensitive information to instigate a fraudulently based investigation, which he then used to amass political gain and fundraising dollars.” (The Hill / CBS News / USA Today / Bloomberg / CNN)
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