Comparing the Federal Funds Rate Cut Today to What Happened in October 1984

Our friend Bill Polley provided this link as he rightfully noted:

This is the largest rate cut in the modern era in which rate changes have been publicly announced.

Bill later noted this statement:

This was the biggest rate cut by the Fed since October 1984.

It does seem that the federal funds rate was around 11% at the beginning of October 1984 and was only 10% at the end of the month. This was the period just before the Reagan-Mondale election when the GOP was singing the tune about “Morning in America”. While Paul Krugman sets the record straight about this 1984 spin, I was wondering how cynical it would have been for the Reagan White House to have pressured the Volcker FED into another round of the political business cycle. But then – it would not have been like Volcker to yield to such pressure. And then I recalled that economists were talking about the discount rate and not the federal funds rate as the instrument of monetary policy back then. And sure enough – we did not see a drop in the discount rate until November 20, 1984 and this drop was only from 9% to 8.5%.