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Expand chart
Data: BIS via Deutsche Bank; Chart: Axios Visuals

The world’s central banks are increasingly using their powerful platform to put a spotlight on inequality.

Why it matters: Central banks control the money supply and interest rates, which affects financing costs for everyone.

  • Historically, the Federal Reserve — the central bank of the U.S. — had vague goals including achieving some generic "maximum level of employment."
  • But last August, the Fed updated its statement on goals to clarify that this was "a broad-based and inclusive goal."
  • "This change reflects our appreciation for the benefits of a strong labor market, particularly for many in low- and moderate-income communities," Fed chair Jerome Powell said at the time.

The big picture: The Fed's now-broader mandate, which includes achieving inflation that averages 2% over time, gives it more flexibility to keep monetary policy accommodative for longer.

What they’re saying: Deutsche Bank strategist Jim Reid says "recent years have seen central banks increasingly enter the debate on numerous other topics including fiscal policy, social justice, race, gender issues, climate change and inequality."

  • "These are all admirable and crucial topics to discuss and could help make the world a better place. However, it does show how central bank power and influence has changed and also how they seem to be giving governments cover to spend on these issues."
  • Reid says this is a reason inflation could run a little hot for a while.

What to watch: In recent testimony to Congress, Powell emphasized how "joblessness continues to fall disproportionately on lower-wage workers in the service sector and on African Americans and Hispanics."

Go deeper

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
Oct 14, 2021 - Economy & Business

What does "transitory" mean in the context of inflation

Raphael Bostic speaks to members of the Harvard Business School Club of Atlanta at the Buckhead Club in Atlanta, Georgia on Feb. 19, 2020. Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/Bloomberg via Getty Images

In a recent speech, Atlanta Fed president Raphael Bostic brought out the swear jar he keeps in his office. Except this jar is a swear jar with a difference: Staffers (and, of course, Bostic himself) have to put a dollar in every time they use the dreaded word "transitory."

Why it matters: As White House press secretary Jen Psaki says, no one really knows what the t-word word means.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Congressman criminally charged with lying to feds

Rep. Jeff Fortenberry. Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb.) has been indicted on charges he falsified records and lied to federal investigators probing an illegal foreign donation scheme, the Justice Department announced on Tuesday.

Driving the news: DOJ says a Fortenberry associate, who later cooperated with investigators, informed him he'd likely received illegal donations from an intermediary for a foreign national, but that Fortenberry denied any knowledge of such a scheme when contacted by the FBI.

"Assassin's Creed," but for schools

"Viking Age: Discovery Tour." Image via Ubisoft

For the third time since 2018, Ubisoft is releasing a nonviolent version of its latest “Assassin’s Creed” game as part of a unique effort to turn one of the medium’s most popular series into an educational tool.

Driving the news:Viking Age: Discovery Tour” transforms last year’s “Assassin’s Creed Valhalla” from a bloody 150-hour game about Viking conquest in 9th century England into a peaceful four-hour game about merchants and monks.

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