President Trump “Not Thrilled” With Interest Rate Increases
Following a trend the President has shown for lashing out at his own appointees — including Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Federal Communications Commission head Ajit Pai, and others — Trump is now expressing displeasure with the direction of the Federal Reserve chaired by Jerome Powell. Namely the president has criticised the Fed for continuing to raise interest rates, saying the central bank should be helping him to boost the economy. Furthermore, as Reuters reports, the President has said Fed’s actions are making it harder for the U.S. during negotiations with other countries.
Speaking on Powell’s chairmanship so far, Trump said, “I’m not thrilled with his raising of interest rates, no. I’m not thrilled.” The President also went beyond his assertion that China manipulates their currency to also accuse the European Union of doing the same. This coupled with the Fed’s actions have led Trump to suggest that the U.S. is at a disadvantage (although not a deadly one), saying, “We’re negotiating very powerfully and strongly with other nations. We’re going to win. But during this period of time I should be given some help by the Fed. The other countries are accommodated.”
Reuters notes that it’s been rare for sitting presidents to criticize the Federal Reserve, but Trump has been doing so since before he was elected. Additionally the President assured the outlet he would continue to be vocal if the Fed were to raise rates further. Despite this, the Federal Reserve is widely expected to raise interest rates next month, which would mark the third increase this year. Rates have slowly been increasing since 2015 following a six-year lull where rates sat at historic lows following the 2008 financial crisis.
Obviously the President’s comments come at a time when trade tensions are high — especially between the U.S. and China. The dueling nations have been taking turns imposing tariffs on various imports, with another round expected to hit this week. Meanwhile the administration continues to explore the possibility of auto import tariffs, although a report on such a plan has reportedly taken a bit of a backseat while negotiations with Europe and others continue.
The President’s critique of the Fed appears to be the latest page in his controversial economic playbook. However, for all the tough talk, tariffs, and trade wars, the U.S. economy continues to flourish. Of course, were the current growth the U.S. is experiencing begin to slow, Trump is seemingly already lining up scapegoats. All this makes for a consistently interesting economic climate to say the least and we’ll all just have to see where it goes from here.