In an attempt to keep the economy from faltering, the US Federal Reserve lowered interest rates Wednesday from 2.25% to just below 2%. While US President Donald Trump has called for the Fed to cut rates, the reduction is much more modest than he might have liked, emphasizing the gap between how the Fed and the White House view the American economy as the 2020 elections loom. Is this effort to keep the economy strong being made because of the projections of a recession and the data that continue to point in that direction?
While the US considers how best to respond to drone strikes an Saudi Aramco oil facilities over the weekend, Trump has asked the Treasury to "substantially" strengthen sanctions in place against Iran. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called the attacks, which temporarily halved Saudi Arabia's oil output, an "act of war," and on Wednesday, the kingdom presented what it said were remains of Iranian-made weapons used in the strikes. Tensions are increasing in the Persian Gulf region, with Tehran promising retaliation against any US attacks, according to Iranian news outlets. All of this jingoism and saber-rattling, for what?
Israel's two largest parties, Likud and Blue and White, sought support from smaller factions Wednesday in a desperate effort to form a ruling coalition in the Knesset, a day after the country's second election in five months. After votes were cast in April, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed to form a government, and the possibility remains that Israel will see a new PM for the first time in a decade.
Dr. Jack Rasmus — Professor of economics at Saint Mary's College of California and author of "Central Bankers at the End of Their Ropes: Monetary Policy and the Coming Depression."
Daniel Lazare — Journalist and author of three books: "The Frozen Republic," "The Velvet Coup" and "America's Undeclared War."
Miko Peled — Israeli-American activist and author of "The General's Son: Journey of an Israeli in Palestine."
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