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Drew in Just my thoughts,

Does the Fed Beige Book Have Useful Information?

Every so often the Fed graces us with a detailed outline of what they are doing, and why. I’d never checked one out until recently. Here are my two main thoughts:

First off, it is loooooooong. We’re talking close to 17,000 words. Making the paper this long seems like it’s saying right up front “we don’t expect you idiots to actually read and understand this.” It’s like how the IRS would rather no one ever understood the tax code. Why not just write up a concise, easy to read paper that distills the information in a way that is accessible to the average user? That seems like something the government should pony up money to make a reality.

The other frustrating aspect is that they don’t take any hard stances. It’s a summary of what’s happening, with no real summary. They don’t say “here’s where we think things are headed” or “this is explicitly why we are keeping interest rates low,” or “real estate (NYSE: IYR) is looking like a decent investment at the moment.) The last sentence of the paper is literally, “One contact mentioned that initial public offerings for technology companies had cooled due to international economic uncertainty, but mergers and acquisitions activity remained strong.”

That’s how you’re going to end your paper, when the world is waiting with baited breath to find out if you are going to make a move that could impact the entire world economy? To me, the whole thing feels like an exercise in futility, and I’m not sure there’s much useful information in it for the average investor.