Expand chart
Data: Axios analysis of Powell's speeches and interviews; Graphic: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Fed chairman Jerome Powell has spoken a lot about the risk of inflation overshooting its 2% target, but only recently has he discussed the risk of a persistent undershoot.

Why it matters: This "reinforces a generational change in Fed thinking from fear-of- inflation-too-high to fear-of-inflation-too-low," as Tony Dwyer, chief market strategist at Canaccord Genuity, said in a tweet.

Between the lines: Under usual circumstances, the Fed's two mandates work against each other: Maximizing employment usually is cover for the Fed to cut rates, while the price stability mandate has been used to justify rate hikes.

  • Over the last several years, the Fed has been raising rates despite inflation falling below target. Yellen made the case that the Fed could raise rates "more slowly," should weak inflation persist.
  • It's not that the Fed couldn't have made the case for a cut based on soft inflation readings — they just didn't. That's much easier now that interest rates have come up from 0%.

Go deeper

Updated 16 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Supreme Court clears way for first federal execution since 2003

Lethal injection facility in San Quentin, California. Photo: California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation via Getty Images

The Supreme Court ruled early Tuesday that federal executions can resume, reversing a lower court decision and paving the way for the first lethal injection since 2003 to take place at a federal prison in Indiana, AP reports.

The big picture: A lower court had delayed the execution, saying inmates had provided evidence the government's plan to carry out executions using lethal injections "poses an unconstitutionally significant risk of serious pain."

1 hour ago - Health

More Republicans say they're wearing masks

Data: Axios/Ipsos poll; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Nearly two-thirds of Americans — and a noticeably increasing number of Republicans — say they’re wearing a face mask whenever they leave the house, according to the latest installment of the Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

Why it matters: A weakening partisan divide over masks, and a broad-based increase in the number of people wearing them, would be a welcome development as most of the country tries to beat back a rapidly growing outbreak.

Buildings are getting tested for coronavirus, too

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Testing buildings — not just people — could be an important way to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Why it matters: People won't feel safe returning to schools, offices, bars and restaurants unless they can be assured they won't be infected by coronavirus particles lingering in the air — or being pumped through the buildings' air ducts. One day, even office furniture lined with plants could be used to clean air in cubicles.