For the perplexed, what does "quantitative easing" mean?
It's a terrible term. But here's how it works. The Federal Reserve buys or sells bonds to try to alter interest rates. In normal monetary policy the way it does this is by setting a target interest rate and then buying (or selling) bonds to try to hit the target. When it does "quantitative easing" what it does is specify a quantity of bonds that it's going to buy and let the markets do with this what they will.
Why call that "quantitative easing"? Because you're specifying a quantity rather than a target. And why do it that way rather than setting a target and then hitting it? I also have no idea. I like to think the world will look back on the Quantitative Easing Era as a period of baffling linguistic and conceptual confusion. It's much better to set a target and then do the necessary quantity than to specify the quantity and leave the target unclear.
TODAY IN SLATE
Smash and Grab
Will competitive Senate contests in Kansas and South Dakota lead to more late-breaking races in future elections?
I Am 25. I Don’t Work at Facebook. My Doctors Want Me to Freeze My Eggs.
Republicans Want the Government to Listen to the American Public on Ebola. That’s a Horrible Idea.
The Most Ingenious Teaching Device Ever Invented
Tom Hanks Has a Short Story in the New Yorker. It’s Not Good.
Marvel’s Civil War Is a Far-Right Paranoid Fantasy
It’s also a mess. Can the movies do better?