The Fed needs to act independently

The Federal Reserve was set up to be a nonpartisan governing board over the money supply in the US, which impacts the economy. The president would only appoint members for Senate vetting when terms expired. The Fed is supposed to be independent from pressures from the White House.

Yet, the bull-in-the-china shop president wreaks havoc over what is supposed to be done. He acts regally in what is supposed to be a democracy with rules of governance. The Fed should not succumb to any president, but especially this one, who routinely places his self-interests above the country’s. And, that does not lead to good governance.

Presidents have little impact on the economy, only providing some headwinds and tailwinds. This president has done a little bit of both. But, he championed himself as a superior dealmaker and business person when campaigning and since elected. Yes, he has had success, but given his starting point, some financial people think he should be wealthier than he is.

He touts a $1 million loan from his father, but that is fable. An in-depth study was reported by The New York Times in the fall of 2018, that Trump’s father transferred tax free over $400 million to his son before he died. That is well north of a $1 million loan. Plus, there are Trump’s six corporate bankruptcies on failed projects. That caused US banks to stop lending to him, so he went to Deutsche Bank for money. But, there have been other failed investments – airlines, mortgage company, etc.

Trump has eagerly patted himself on the back about the economy. But, the economy was just over 7 years of economic growth and the stock market had more than doubled under his predecessor when he took office. But, as with Trump, Obama should not get too much credit for the economy either. He provided mostly tailwinds and a few headwinds. What is revealed by the stock market fall off due to global softening, falling oil prices and the coronavirus, is the president does not have much to do with the stock market. As Warren Buffett once said, if the president is going to take credit for the stock market increase, then he must take the blame for the fall.

So, the Fed would do well to ignore the president. Yes, the president is entitled to his opinion, but what has been shown over his history, is maybe his financial advice is not as sound as he (or his followers) think it is. My concerns are we are using tools that should be reserved for even tougher times. The stock and bond markets seem to be more jittery with moves like this. And, when people are staying home, traveling less and eating in, reducing interest rates may not be creating a needed salve, if less spending is occurring.

Yet, as noted earlier, what bothers me most is the president is interested in his own optics, not fixing a problem. He has and wants to trade short term gain for his benefit, at the expense of future problems. He did this with the debt and deficit and he has and will do it with the Fed. They need to tell the president, thanks but no thanks.

10 thoughts on “The Fed needs to act independently

  1. Hello Keith. I am sure you have read as I have the increasing demands of the want to be king president that the feds reduce rates to shore up his economy in the past months. Have you read that he is now saying he has the “right”, the authority to fire the fed chairman? Yes if he doesn’t get his demands met he is now claiming the authority to replace the fed chairman just like his other department acting secretaries. I bet the Republicans in congress would let him do it even though it is against the law. Hugs

    • Scottie, I have seen that. I think his sycophants may find that a bridge too far, especially when it is increasingly apparent he doesn’t have a clue. The stock market reacted again strongly to the Fed’s forced efforts as a panic measure. Lowering interest rates is less helpful when people are not doing things in the first place – less travel, less driving, less public transport, less restaurant outings which beget temporary layoffs. Keith

  2. Keith, please tell me if you think this is correct. Trump should absolutely stay away from press conferences during this crisis. Period. The last few were designed so the stock market would hear him speak and rally accordingly. Having a malignant narcissist as president is dangerous. It’s as simple as that. I bet you his people would love to tell him to not do these press conferences but they are afraid at his reaction. What do you think?

    • Roger, it is a scary point. What frustrates me (among others) is both people think more of covering-their-hind end and perception of them than solving problems. Right now, I have seen two political cartoons that contrast President Harry Truman saying “The buck stops here” and Donald Trump saying “I cannot take responsibility for that.” That speaks volumes. Keith

      • I will say it once more I have never considered Trump the President of the USA.
        He does not display the intelligence, the dignity nor the gravitas the office requires.
        Yes we know there have been crooks, swindlers and weak office holders, but at least they did it with a sort of dignity.
        Trump is the sort of fellow you wish had not come into the bar while you were having a quiet drink.

      • Agreed on all counts. To me, Trump is the boss you don’t want – taking credit for all good, blaming others for the bad and creating a backstabbing, chaotic environment. If one of his followers worked for him, he or she would not for long. Keith

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