It’s no secret that President Trump is not a big fan of Jerome Powell, the man he appointed to be the Chairman of the Federal Reserve.
Powell has been on the receiving end of multiple Trump tweets criticizing his job performance.
In August, Trump tweeted the following:
“Our problem is a Federal Reserve that is too proud to admit their mistake of acting too fast and tightening too much (and that I was right!) They must cut rates bigger and faster, and stop their ridiculous quantitative tightening NOW. Yield curve is at too wide a margin and no inflation! Incompetence is a terrible thing to watch, especially when things could be taken care of sooo easily.”
On July 22nd, Trump said, “It is more costly for the Federal Reserve to cut deeper if the economy actually does, in the future, turn down. Very inexpensive, in fact productive, to move now. The Fed raised & tightened far too much & too fast. In other words, they missed(Big!) Don’t miss it again!”
There are many other statements that share a similar sentiment.
So, it must have been an awkward meeting between the two men on Monday at the White House.
Trump and Powell had an unexpected meeting at the White House, which caught the markets by surprise.
In response to discussions of the Fed cutting rates into the negative, the dollar fell on the news to session lows and the Bloomberg dollar index dropped below 1,200.
President Trump appears to have enjoyed the meeting. He tweeted, “Just finished a very good & cordial meeting at the White House with Jay Powell of the Federal Reserve. Everything was discussed including interest rates, negative interest, low inflation, easing, Dollar strength & its effect on manufacturing, trade with China, E.U. & others, etc.”
It was apparent that Powell and the Fed both wanted to emphasize that they were not setting monetary policy based on what Trump was saying about them in public.
Following the morning meeting, the Fed released the following statement:
“Finally, Chair Powell said that he and his colleagues on the Federal Open Market Committee will set monetary policy, as required by law, to support maximum employment and stable prices and will make those decisions based solely on careful, objective, and non-political analysis.”
Whatever the two men feel about each other, something they are doing is working. The economy remains very strong. That is why it is slightly perplexing that Trump keeps calling out the Fed when the economy is doing so well.
By calling out the Fed, he is undermining his accurate claim that the economy is booming.
It would be one thing if he did it while the economy was faltering, but it clearly isn’t.
We are living in unprecedented inflation times. Interest rates and inflation have been very low over the past few decades. Double-digit inflation and high interest rates are a thing of the past.
It defies the conventional wisdom of basic monetary policy. Following the 2008-2010 Great Recession, the Fed pumped trillions of dollars into the economy. With so much money in the economy, it was predicted that high inflation would eventually set in.
However, it still hasn’t happened.
Trump and Powell ought to get along well; they are both working to continue growing the economy. Hopefully, they can put aside their differences and make even more progress.
In other news, still no word on what they ate for breakfast.