news·3 min read

Daily Skimm: Federal Interest Rate, Boko Haram, and Modi vs Wild

Jerome Powell
Getty Images
Jul 30, 2019


The Story

Tomorrow, the Federal Reserve is expected to bring interest rates down.

Well isn't that fun.

It is for the stock market. If you were wondering what the money doctors at the Fed do, they take the US's economic temperature and prescribe interest rates. The goal is to keep the economy growing nice and steady – not too fast, not too slow.

Which means (just for those in the back)…

If the US economy is looking good (think: low unemployment, strong GDP), the Fed often decides it can handle higher rates. But if the economy isn't looking too hot, the Fed gives it a boost with lower rates. That helps encourage people to spend money and companies to invest in those big ideas bosses keep talking about.

So tomorrow's decision...

Means that Fed Chair Jerome Powell thinks the US economy could use an assist. That's because of things like trade tensions and a global economic slowdown, which could lower demand for US-made products abroad.

Wait, I thought people have been saying the economy was doing well?

Well, US unemployment is close to a 50-year low. This would be the first time the Fed is lowering interest rates since the 2008 financial crisis. There isn't consistent messaging from Fed officials on why they'd lower rates, but it appears to be to try to keep the good (economy) times rolling.

What are people saying?

Some say the move will help the stock market, not the actual economy. Others say this could help protect the economy from an economic downturn. President Trump has repeatedly made it clear he wants lower rates to apparently keep the economy on the up and up – but he's unimpressed with the expected rate cut. Also, the Fed says that lowering rates has nothing to do with getting Trump off its back. So stop asking.

So what happens next?

Even though the Fed's hinted at it, we'll learn tomorrow whether rates are officially going down. And by how much.


It's unclear if this potential interest rate cut is the Emergen-C to help keep a cold (hint: US recession) away. Or if it's like overmedicating an already healthy economy...potentially fueling economic bubbles like the one that led to the 2008 financial crisis. In other words, the stakes could be high – and this is already being seen as the biggest test for Powell so far.

$: Interest rates impact things like your credit card debt and whether the time is right to take out a mortgage. Here's what lower interest rates could mean for your wallet.


What people are watching…

Nigeria. Over the weekend, armed men attacked a funeral procession in the northeastern part of the country, killing at least 65 people. No one's claimed responsibility yet, but the terror group Boko Haram is suspected to be behind it. The group gained worldwide attention when it kidnapped more than 270 schoolgirls a few years ago. And it's been terrorizing the country for 10 years with the goal of establishing an Islamist state in the area. In that time, it's killed tens of thousands of people and displaced millions more. This attack seems to be the deadliest against civilians there this year.

What you didn't need today...

This Capital One data breach. A hacker stole the data of more than 100 million people in the US and Canada – and she allegedly made zero attempts to hide it. It's one of the largest ever data breaches of a major bank, compromising about 140,000 Social Security numbers and 80,000 bank account numbers, among other pieces of data. Capital One says it'll let you know if your data was affected.

What your friend who's been studying for the bar is eyeing...

This leak. California accidentally released some of its bar exam topics. Psst…good luck to everyone taking the test this week.

Who has Big Nature Energy…

India's PM Narendra Modi.

When you're thiiiiis close to winning your office "Bachelorette" bracket…

I'm gonna take my prize to the old town road.

Live Smarter

Sign up for the Daily Skimm email newsletter. Delivered to your inbox every morning and prepares you for your day in minutes.