All eyes are now on Federal Reserve chairwoman Janet Yellen, said Binyamin Appelbaum at The New York Times. Since December 2008, the central bank has held short-term interest rates near 0 percent, an unprecedented stretch meant to pull the U.S. economy from the depths of the Great Recession. But the end of this cheap-money era appears to be near. With the economy steadily improving, the Fed plans to raise its benchmark interest rate by 0.25 percent, perhaps as soon as its mid-September meeting. It's "a mathematically minor move that has become a very big deal." Liberals want to keep rates low to boost growth and fight economic inequality; conservatives say it's long past time to rip off the Band-Aid of federal stimulus. Everyone's worried about how the skittish global markets will react.
"Raising rates would declare that we're back to normal," said Katrina vanden Heuvel at The Washington Post. There's only one problem: "Most Americans aren't." The percentage of working-age Americans with jobs hasn't returned to its pre-recession level. Wages are stagnant, underemployment is widespre...
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