President Donald Trump said the Federal Reserve should cut interest rates and stop shrinking its balance sheet, maintaining his pressure on the central bank over its monetary policy.
“I personally think the Fed should drop rates. I think they really slowed us down. They should get rid of quantitative tightening” and instead restore quantitative easing, Trump told reporters as he departed the White House on Friday.
Trump repeatedly criticized the Fed under President Barack Obama for holding down interest rates and its policy of quantitative easing, an effort to inject more liquidity into the economy by buying Treasury bonds and mortgage securities. He has reversed his positions on monetary policy as president.
Trump plans to nominate two political loyalists for the Fed’s board of governors, former Godfather’s Pizza Inc. chief executive officer Herman Cain and Stephen Moore, a fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation. Both men’s qualifications for the board have been questioned by economists and many lawmakers, and neither has been formally nominated.
Trump’s top economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, said the appointments aren’t intended to undermine the Fed’s traditional political independence.
“We are not going after their independence,” Kudlow said. “We have our point of view.”
The Fed’s interest rate increases last year outraged the president, who even discussed firing the central bank’s chairman, Jerome Powell.
Kudlow observed that inflation is low and wages are rising. “Why raise interest rates?” Kudlow said.