Finally, Clarity From the Fed! Or Maybe Not ...
Just to Be Clear!
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke went to Capitol Hill this week and talked about the economy and the central bank's $85 billion a month bond-buying program (CNBC Explains: Quantitative Easing). The Fed also released the minutes of its last meeting—just hours after his testimony Wednesday.
So the message should be crystal clear, right?
The Fed MAY be willing to reduce, a.k.a. TAPER, bond purchases as early as the June meeting IF the economy IMPROVES, and IF there is CONSENSUS the economic data shows CLEAR evidence that the economy can GROW and IF the job market can IMPROVE on its own. But policymakers differed about what EVIDENCE would be necessary to reach that conclusion, so until that scenario becomes more VISIBLE, the Fed intends to maintain its current path as LONG as NEEDED, while hinting to the markets that they may differ on the definition of the words: MAY, IF, TAPER, IMPROVE, CONSENSUS, GROW, VISABLE, LONG, NEEDED, and most importantly CLEAR.
Squawk Reserve = Smarter TV
Speaking of "Fed Speak," Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher told us on Monday some really, really smart things. Trust me. I know when things sound really smart, even if the concepts sometimes elude me. (story and video)
It's real hard to figure out what Bernanke and his Fed friends are really thinking. Fortunately, we don't have that same problem with Jim who provided his spot on analysis Thursday morning—a day after all this Fed "he said, he said" started. (video)
Lawmakers in their infinite wisdom this week called the chief executive of one of America's most successful companies on the carpet for following American tax laws and not paying more taxes. Makes sense, right?
Pro-business Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., sits on the panel that grilled Apple CEO Tim Cook over the tech giant's legal practice of leaving profits overseas because of the higher corporate tax rate in the United States.
He told us the morning after Wednesday's hearing that it's the government's fault not Apple's and called for an overall of the tax code. (video)
Down with Dimon (Not!)
We spent hours talking about it. CNBC even made a "Dimon in the Rough" animation. The papers slapped it all over the front pages. There were also lead editorials, social media buzz, and shareholder revolt to split the chairman and CEO roles at JPMorgan Chase currently held by Jaime Dimon.
Dimon, you're going down!
But banking analyst extraordinaire Dick Bove said it best on Tuesday morning ahead of the vote. (story and video)
The final count at the bank's annual meeting in favor of the split was just 32.2 percent
OK. Sorry! Never mind.
(Read More: Back to the Future! Will Lafley's P&G Return Work?)
Tweets of Note
@marissamayer: I'm delighted to announce that we've reached an agreement to acquire Tumblr! We promise not to screw... http://t.co/qc9hRQBxSz
(Hmm Marissa, I know you probably did it purposely to make me click on it, but did you really have to pick that word to make the jump to the link? This is a family program!)
@MorningMoneyBen: What type of car is best?
(Answer: I'm kinda partial to my 1997 Suburban2500 with the 454 Big Block. But she's not helping my carbon footprint at 8 MPG! @tonyfratto may be right when he answered: Jeep Wrangler)
@peterlauria3 — Peter Lauria launched a business section on @buzzfeed this week with two great scoops (here) and (here). He came on "Squawk" on Wednesday to talk about them. (video) That's kinda cool. But both @beckyquickcnbc and I decided we like him simply because he's a Rutgers grad like us.
(Plus you don't want to get on the wrong side of @buzzfeed. They can sink you fast! So I'm sucking-up now!)
Squawkward Moment (talking about pro golf banning belly putters)
Joe Kernen putts the old fashioned way and said, "If I am going to suffer, I want everybody to suffer. I don't want to watch everybody stroke it smoothly while I can't."
Becky responded, "Yes it's time for everybody to rise above and learn to stroke it on their own."
Joe exclaimed, "What??!!"
The awkwardness doesn't stop there because Joe (and the tabloids) can't say "weiner" enough. (video)
Joe and Becky love to play the word jumble in the paper, and they got a full week of competition in! They were tied at two wins each.
Words Becky stumbled on when jumbled: HENDID (HIDDEN) and VIREEV (REVIVE).
Joe didn't stumble on any words, but he did miss the puzzle answer twice.
Let's give them both a bonus word for the long weekend:
Joe's bonus jumbled word of the week: HGCORU
Becky's bonus jumbled word of the week: BSIECR
*Answers at the end
Meet the Squawkers (a new series for this blog)
Every few weeks (basically when I get around to it), we'll introduce you to one of the behind the scenes staffers who make all the magic happen on "Squawk Box."
Of course for a chance at this prestigious honor, everybody has to answer my silly irrelevant, formatted questions (sarcasm welcomed) designed to make them look somewhat foolish. (In all seriousness, they also happen to be the best group of pros in the business!)
This week, meet "Squawk Box" Director Paul DeFabo, 43, who's been with the show for eight years. He started at CNBC in 1996.
- Why Paul likes "Squawk Box": The hours, because there's nothing as awesome as waking up for work at 3 a.m. Monday through Friday … well, besides sleeping! Oh, and I was told there would be coffee. Lots of coffee.
- Paul's favorite movie: Tough one! "The Godfather" or The "Dark Knight."
- On Paul's current Top 3 music playlist: "Haze" by Device, "Trenches" by Pop Evil, and Enemies" by Shinedown.
- On weekends Paul likes to: Spend as much time with my kids as possible before they grow old on me or, before they discover there's an XBox in the basement.
If you want to get to know Paul on social media follow him on Twitter at @PaulDeFabo.
(Please follow him already so he feels he got something out of this!)
Guest Hosts: Mark Your Calendar (or Set Your DVR)
- Monday: We're off for Memorial Day!
- Tuesday: Best selling author Ben Mezrich and Evercore's Roger Altman
- Wednesday: House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Larry Fink, chairman and CEO of BlackRock
- Thursday: Still working on this one!
- Friday: Brad Anderson, former Best Buy CEO
*Joe's Jumble Bonus Word Answer: HGCORU (GROUCH)
*Becky's Jumble Bonus Word Answer: BSIECR (SCRIBE)