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Christopher Russo

Articles by Christopher Russo

Escalating Dorm Rates, Eminent Domain and Economics 101 | Discourse

October 12, 2021

College tuition and fees have been skyrocketing for decades, tripling since just 2000. But another reason for the huge cost of higher education is soaring rates for student housing. The towns surrounding college campuses contribute to the exorbitant bills by restricting off-campus student rentals or banning them outright. This is on top of the standard zoning restrictions that limit the supply of housing in towns everywhere, and it forces more students to pay steep prices for tiny dormitory rooms on campus. My experience illustrates the problem—and a solution.
While attending Rutgers University from 2014 to 2016, I lived at 1126 River Road in Piscataway, New Jersey. It was a seven-bedroom house built in 1924 that the owners, Cindy

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The Thing That Should Not Be

October 12, 2021

Before the U.S. Treasury is needlessly forced to default on the government’s obligations, Congress should raise or suspend the debt limit.


magine it’s the evening of October 17 . . .
The dark of night engulfs the District of Columbia, and Congress has yet to fix the debt limit. Officials gather in the belly of the Beltway beast, and all those present know what is to come: Tomorrow morning, as predicted, the U.S. Treasury will default on the government’s obligations. Time has run out. A desperate President Biden instructs the U.S. Treasury to deposit a secretly minted coin at the Federal Reserve Board. Although having implied to Congress weeks earlier that she would not do so, Secretary Yellen quietly resolves to do …

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What the Fed Will Do if Congress Doesn’t Fix the Debt Ceiling

October 5, 2021

Editor’s note: This commentary was originally published in May. Since then the Treasury Department has employed “extraordinary measures” to avoid breaching the debt limit. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has said those measures will be exhausted by Oct. 18 if Congress does not act. It’s that time again: The national debt limit suspension is set to expire on July 31. If Congress and the president do not raise or resuspend that ceiling, they will force the U.S. Treasury to default. The Federal Reserve has planned for such a crisis: In case of dollar default, break glass. I know their playbook. I’ll read you in using their own words.
Let’s be clear: The risk of a dollar default is low. As Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in 2011, when she was vice chair of the Federal Reserve, the debt

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Safeguarding the Federal Reserve's Independence

September 23, 2021

Chair Himes, Ranking Member Barr, and members of the subcommittee:
Thank you for inviting me to discuss the emergency lending powers of the Federal Reserve (Fed). My name is Christopher Russo. I am a postgraduate research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, where my research focuses on central banking. Before joining the Mercatus Center, I held roles at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and Federal Reserve Bank of New York, advising senior officials on a range of monetary policy decisions.
Today, I urge you to safeguard the Fed’s political independence, which is the backbone of good monetary policy. My arguments can be boiled down to three points.
1. The Fed’s role as the lender of last resort (LOLR) is essential to achieving its dual mandate of maximum employment

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The Government Isn’t Cooking the Books on Inflation | Discourse

July 20, 2021

The Consumer Price Index rose by 0.9% in June, or over 11% at an annual rate. For many of us used to decades of consistently low inflation that sounds like a lot, and it is.
While inflation is raging, talk about inflation is all the rage, with increasing concern that the U.S. may be entering a period of higher inflation. But what exactly is inflation? How is it measured? And are those measurements accurate?
The following Q&A answers these and other questions about the economic phenomenon economist Milton Friedman once called “taxation without representation.”
 What is consumer price inflation?
Imagine you’re in the grocery store and you fill your cart until you’ve spent everything in your budget. Next time you shop, you notice that

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The GameStop Short Squeeze

February 4, 2021

Social media, combined with more sophisticated investment options, has given small, retail investors new market power. Read more at Discourse.

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