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Expand chart
Reproduced from Deutsche Bank; Chart: Axios Visuals

Fed Chair Jerome Powell has made FOMC statements shorter and spoken more often, but he hasn't actually spoken more plainly — at least not when compared to predecessors Ben Bernanke and Alan Greenspan.

Be smart: A 2014 report from the St. Louis Fed found that what increased the complexity of the reports was the Fed's quantitative easing program.

  • "During Federal Reserve Chair Alan Greenspan’s tenure ... FOMC statements averaged 210 words with a reading grade level of 14. The statements continued on this track with Chair Bernanke from March 2006 until the end of 2008, when they started to change dramatically with the onset of the financial crisis and the beginning of so-called unconventional monetary policy.
  • "By January 2009, the statements were over 400 words with reading grade levels around 16.
  • "Under Chair Yellen, the FOMC issued five statements from March to September 2014. All five exceeded 800 words and had reading grade levels of 18 or 19, suggesting that readers would require an education level of about three years beyond a four-year college degree to understand them."

About the Flesch-Kincaid index: St. Louis Fed researchers explain, it "combines two measures of text complexity — average word length and average sentence length — to generate a reading level that corresponds to a U.S. grade level or the number of years of education generally required to understand the text."

Go deeper: The Fed's newly unified voice

Go deeper

"Atmospheric river" swings Northern California from drought to flood

Satellite view of the bomb cyclone swirling off the coast of the Pacific Northwest and the atmospheric river affecting California on Oct. 24. Photo: CIRA/RAMMB

A series of powerful "atmospheric river" storms are delivering historic amounts of rainfall across parts of drought-stricken California and the Pacific Northwest — triggering widespread power outages and flooding.

Why it matters: The strong atmospheric river, packing large amounts of moisture, is causing Northern California to whiplash from drought to flood.

“You blew it”: GOP activist turns on corporations over vaccine mandates

The chairman of the American Conservative Union said on "Axios on HBO" he accepts "Joe Biden is my president, and I want him to succeed," but predicted Republicans retake the House and Senate in 2022 — with greater than 50% odds Donald Trump runs in 2024.

The big picture: In a joint interview with his wife, Mercedes, Matt Schlapp also refused to share their vaccination status. And he told corporate America "you blew it" by embracing vaccine mandates and liberal social stances that have alienated GOP voters and politicians.

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Pelosi expects “billionaire’s tax” to pay for Biden social spending

Photo: Yasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Sunday she expects the chamber to pass the bipartisan infrastructure plan by week’s end, and alternatives to corporate tax hikes and a “billionaires tax” will be used to finance President Biden’s promised expansion to the social safety net.

Why it matters: Pelosi’s comments come as House and Senate leaders try to wrap up a deal. What will get cut — and how the remainder will be paid — are linchpins to a final agreement.