Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Mario Draghi's penultimate policy meeting as European Central Bank president was a bit like watching a past-his-prime boxer struggling through the late rounds of a fight. "Dovish" Draghi still has the moves, but it's obvious the game has passed him by and a new era has begun.

Driving the news: Draghi, whose term is set to expire at the end of October, not only cut the ECB's already negative deposit rate to -0.5%, he also announced additional stimulus of 20 billion euros a month to continue indefinitely and lowered the central bank's inflation and growth forecasts.

What they're saying: "Lower rates and QE are unlikely to have much effect on the eurozone economy. Draghi knows that," Joseph Trevisani, senior analyst at FXStreet, tells Axios in an email. "By placing the onus for inaction on governments he distracts (as much as possible) from the probable failure of the ECB stimulus."

The big picture: Draghi's "whatever it takes" mantra has been credited with saving the eurozone, Europe and the euro currency, as the central bank has taken unprecedented steps to bring the economy back to life during his 8 years as its head.

  • However, it has been largely unsuccessful in generating inflation and allowing eurozone economies to stand on their own.
  • Draghi effectively admitted as much on Thursday, calling for politicians to take the reins and administer fiscal stimulus to help prop up their respective economies.
  • But he still pushed forward with exceptional measures, reportedly in the face of unprecedented dissent from the influential central bank governors of Germany, France, the Netherlands, Austria and Estonia, among others.

Be smart: "Central banks are loath to ever admit to reaching the limits of monetary policy, but that is more or less where we think the ECB is," Deutsche Bank chief U.K. economist Mark Wall and senior U.K. economist Peter Sidorov said in a note to clients.

Where it stands: Draghi also tried to placate the heads of Europe's consumer banks by instituting a tiered deposit system that would spare some banks from having to pay the central bank to park their reserves.

The bottom line: The measures will provide some relief for the banking system, Kathy Jones, chief fixed income strategist for the Schwab Center for Financial Research, tells Axios.

The big question: Will it actually be a sustainable solution for the underlying problems?

  • "Oh, no," Jones says, with a hearty laugh. "The problem is demand and how to stimulate demand in a world of aging populations, demographic challenges, a China slowdown, trade wars, all those things that really monetary policy can’t solve. They can only address what they can address."

Go deeper: The ECB likes inflation now

Go deeper

The apocalypse scenario

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Democratic lawyers are preparing to challenge any effort by President Trump to swap electors chosen by voters with electors selected by Republican-controlled legislatures. One state of particular concern: Pennsylvania, where the GOP controls the state house.

Why it matters: Trump's refusal to commit to a peaceful transfer of power, together with a widely circulated article in The Atlantic about how bad the worst-case scenarios could get, is drawing new attention to the brutal fights that could jeopardize a final outcome.

Federal judge rules Trump administration can't end census early

Census workers outside Lincoln Center in New York. Photo: Noam Galai/Getty Images

A federal judge ruled late Thursday that the Trump administration could not end the 2020 census a month early.

Why it matters: The decision states that an early end — on Sept. 30, instead of Oct. 31 — would likely produce inaccuracies and thus impact political representation and government funding around the country.

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
2 hours ago - Health

Where bringing students back to school is most risky

Data: Coders Against COVID; Note: Rhode Island and Puerto Rico did not meet minimum testing thresholds for analysis. Values may not add to 100% due to rounding; Cartogram: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Schools in Southern and Midwestern states are most at risk of coronavirus transmission, according to an analysis by Coders Against COVID that uses risk indicators developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The big picture: Thankfully, schools have not yet become coronavirus hotspots, the Washington Post reported this week, and rates of infection are lower than in the surrounding communities. But that doesn't mean schools are in the clear, especially heading into winter.

Get Axios AM in your inbox

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!