Aug 19, 2019

Trump calls on Fed to cut rates by "at least 100 basis points"

President Trump on Monday tweeted that the Federal Reserve should cut interest rates by "at least 100 basis points, with perhaps some quantitative easing as well," in order to boost the U.S. and world economy.

"Our Economy is very strong, despite the horrendous lack of vision by Jay Powell and the Fed, but the Democrats are trying to 'will' the Economy to be bad for purposes of the 2020 Election. Very Selfish! Our dollar is so strong that it is sadly hurting other parts of the world. The Fed Rate, over a fairly short period of time, should be reduced by at least 100 basis points, with perhaps some quantitative easing as well. If that happened, our Economy would be even better, and the World Economy would be greatly and quickly enhanced-good for everyone!"

Why it matters: Trump's attempted politicization of the Fed is not new, but he's never called for a rate cut as drastic and specific as this one. Major quantitative easing and a full percentage point cut in interest rates (from 2.25% to 1.25%) are tools that the Fed normally uses to stimulate the economy in a recession. The inversion of the yield curve, a warning sign that has preceded every recession for the past 70 years, caused a major sell-off in the stock market last week and has White House officials scrambling to do damage control.

Go deeper: Allies worry Trump is "running out of tools" to boost the economy

Go deeper

Fed tweets show Trump doesn't understand central banking

Trump announces Powell as his Federal Reserve nominee in November 2017. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

President Trump's latest tweets have continued a pattern of attacking the Federal Reserve and his handpicked chairman Jerome Powell for months using a mix of half-truths, mischaracterizations and hyperbolic fantasies, such as a claim that the stock market would be 10,000 points higher if not for the Fed.

Driving the news: On Wednesday morning, Trump said on Twitter that the Fed "cannot 'mentally' keep up with the competition - other countries. At the G-7 in France, all of the other Leaders were giddy about how low their Interest Costs have gone. Germany is actually “getting paid” to borrow money - ZERO INTEREST PLUS! No Clue Fed!"

Go deeperArrowAug 29, 2019

Trump backtracks on payroll tax cut

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump abandoned his stance on considering a payroll tax cut Wednesday, just 1 day after telling reporters that he had been "thinking about" whether to pursue the move.

The big picture: Discussions over cutting the payroll tax, which currently sits at 6.2% and is used to fund Social Security and Medicare, are part of a broader White House effort to stem fears of a coming recession — though Trump insisted to reporters that "whether or not we do it now, it's not being done because of recession." Sources tell Axios' Jonathan Swan that Trump is "running out of tools" to juice the economy, with an economic slowdown looking increasingly likely ahead of the 2020 election.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Aug 21, 2019

Fed discord over cutting rates could mean future headaches for Powell

Fed Chair Jerome Powell. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

The fight over the future of monetary policy at the Fed sharpened publicly ahead of the upcoming meeting in September.

What's new: Boston Fed president Eric Rosengren made the case against another cut to U.S. interest rates while St. Louis Fed president James Bullard said he would be in favor of a 50 basis point cut.

Go deeperArrowSep 4, 2019