President Donald Trump on Thursday said the U.S.’ own central bank poses a bigger threat to the economy than China because it is keeping interest rates at levels that are higher than in other countries.
“People are VERY disappointed in Jay Powell and the Federal Reserve,” the president tweeted, referring to the Fed chair. “Others are running circles around them and laughing all the way to the bank. Dollar & Rates are hurting our manufacturers.”
“We should have lower interest rates than Germany, Japan and all others,” he added. “We are now, by far, the biggest and strongest Country, but the Fed puts us at a competitive disadvantage. China is not our problem, the Federal Reserve is! We will win anyway.”
The central bank on Wednesday cut interest rates for the third time since July, but Powell signaled that it is done reducing borrowing costs for now, until there’s evidence the economy really needs yet another stimulus.
People are VERY disappointed in Jay Powell and the Federal Reserve. The Fed has called it wrong from the beginning, too fast, too slow. They even tightened in the beginning. Others are running circles around them and laughing all the way to the bank. Dollar & Rates are hurting…
….our manufacturers. We should have lower interest rates than Germany, Japan and all others. We are now, by far, the biggest and strongest Country, but the Fed puts us at a competitive disadvantage. China is not our problem, the Federal Reserve is! We will win anyway.45.6K10:37 AM – Oct 31, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacy15.8K people are talking about this
That angered Trump, who has loudly called for rates to drop to zero — or even lower — to boost the economy as he heads into his reelection campaign.
Trump’s missives on Thursday seemed to answer his own question from a couple of tweets in August. “My only question is, who is our bigger enemy, Jay Powell or Chairman Xi?” he asked back then. (His tweet today downgraded Powell from “enemy” to “problem.”)
But rates are higher in the U.S. than in the European Union and Japan because the American economy is stronger. The Fed would be unlikely to cut rates to zero — an extreme stimulus measure — unless the economy were in serious trouble.
Most economists say Trump’s trade war with China — not high interest rates — is the main factor weighing on American manufacturing, one of the weakest areas of the economy, and is the chief source of the uncertainty that is slowing down business investment.
Borrowing costs are already ultralow, and leaders of top business groups say that hardly any of their members are having trouble getting loans. And while Trump is right that the dollar is strong — making American exports more expensive — that has much more to do with the relative health of the U.S. economy than with anything the central bank does.
The president regularly tweets about the central bank, some of which question the intelligence of Fed officials, who he has referred to as “boneheads,” and he has said that Powell has “no ‘guts.’”
For his part, the Fed chief has studiously avoided responding to the president in any fashion while underscoring the political independence of the Fed — intended to ensure the central bank acts in the long-term interest of the economy rather than short-term political interests.