Biden and Fed Chairman Powell meet as inflation dominates the global economy.

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President Biden met with Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome H. Powell at the White House on Tuesday in an effort to both sell Americans a more favorable view of the economy and reassure investors. consumers that Washington leaders are working hard to slow rapidly rising prices.

White House officials presented the visit as a chance for Mr. Biden, who nominated Mr. Powell for a second term as Fed chair late last year, to congratulate him on his recent confirmation. in the Senate. It’s also the start of a month-long attempt to convince the public that inflation is under control and the economy is doing much better than Mr Biden’s poll numbers suggest.

Speaking to reporters at the start of the meeting, which also included Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen, former Fed chairwoman, Biden reiterated that fighting inflation is his top economic priority and that he would not interfere with the Fed as it tries to tame rising prices.

This fight, Mr. Biden said, “starts with a simple proposition: respect the Fed, respect the independence of the Fed, which I have done and will continue to do.”

The chairman added that Mr. Powell “and other members of the Fed have noted right now that they are laser-focused on fighting inflation like me.”

Mr. Biden’s position puts Mr. Powell in what could be an awkward position. The president has repeatedly said he respects the Fed’s independence in setting monetary policy and that he would not persuade the central bank to change interest rates, like his predecessor, former chairman Donald J. Trump, liked to do it. But Mr. Biden also made clear that he expects the Fed to bring inflation under control without plunging the economy into recession, a combination that could be difficult for Mr. Powell to pull off.

Inflation in the United States is near its fastest pace in four decades, with rising prices for gasoline, food and rents. Although price pressures have shown early signs of easing, it is unclear how large and long-lasting this decline will be given ongoing problems in global supply chains and Russia’s war in Ukraine. .

Americans have become pessimistic about the economy and their own financial prospects as their paychecks have not kept up with inflation. The pressure hitting consumers comes at a difficult time for the White House and Democrats, as November’s midterm elections approach and voters cite inflation and the cost of living as top economic concerns.

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Mr Biden has always set a much more optimistic tone than the general public on the economy, pointing month after month to rapid job growth – and a consecutive fall in the unemployment rate – as the country recovers from the recession. pandemic.

After more than a year of watching inflation rise faster than his economic advisers expected, the president has tried in recent weeks to strike a more urgent tone by promising to do everything in his power to slow down. rising costs.

The administration’s top economics officials fanned out on cable news programs on Tuesday to hammer home the message that job growth has rebounded strongly and the economy is transitioning to a higher rate of growth. stable – and lower inflation.

Mr. Biden underscored these points in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece published online Monday evening, in which he highlighted the wealth gains for typical Americans under his watch and said that “the United States is in a better economic position than almost any other country”. He promised to fight inflation by reducing the federal budget deficit, working to fix broken global supply chains and passing legislation to reduce energy costs for families and building on the fed.

“With the right policies,” he wrote, “the United States can transition from recovery to stable, steady growth and lower inflation without giving up all of these historic gains.”

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