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From transcripts of Fed meetings in 2008 - the odd results of living in a bunker:

MR. MISHKIN: I am very skeptical of [household surveys] because they tend to react very much to current conditions. Also, if you ask people what TV shows they are watching, they will tell you that they are watching PBS and something classy, but you know they are watching “Desperate Housewives.”

MR. BERNANKE. What is wrong with “Desperate Housewives”?

MR. DUDLEY. “The Committee will carefully evaluate economic and financial market developments.” That means you are on the case.

CHAIRMAN BERNANKE. Well, it is not an analytical thing we are doing. We are just watching closely.

MR. WARSH. Keenly? Carefully?

MR. LACKER. Mr. Chairman?

CHAIRMAN BERNANKE. Yes. President Lacker.

MR. LACKER. Including “closely,” what does that imply about the opposite? I mean, are we going to be able to take that out?

MR. WARSH. Well, we have done things like “in a timely manner” and other kinds of phraseology.

MR. LACKER. Yes, but this is an adjective.

CHAIRMAN BERNANKE. No, it’s an adverb.

MR. LACKER. There goes my credibility. [Laughter]

Chairman Bernanke: Any other comments? All right. Let me just ask for a straw vote: “closely,” no “closely,” or “carefully.” Do we want “carefully”? All right. Is “carefully” more acceptable to those who are concerned?

Mr. Kohn: It’s less of a code word. The intention was to loosen it up a bit but not revert to those code words that nearly promise intermeeting action.

Mr. Plosser: We make note of this in the lexicon of FOMC terminology.

Chairman Bernanke: The semiotics class will begin as soon as the—[Laughter] All right. “Carefully”—is that okay? I’m seeing nodding. All right? Governor Warsh?

Mr. Warsh: Yes, sir.

Mr. Kohn: I’m closing the dictionary.


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This is just how committees work and why they should never be minuted verbatim.

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This is just how committees work and why they should never be minuted verbatim.

do they normally include code words for the people in the know?...I know bankers include code words in references, clearly, if you know what they mean, that gives you an advantage on what they are really saying.

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