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Biden Promises Interest Rate Cut, Violating Federal Reserve Independence

April 12, 2024

As he was ramping up his presidential campaign in December 2019, Joe Biden criticized Donald Trump over his calls for the Federal Reserve to lower interest rates.

“The president should not be trying to pressure the Fed,” Biden said in an interview with CNBC’s John Harwood.

“That’s supposed to be an independent entity out here. It’s just like how he pressures the military and intervenes in the chain of command. It’s his way of abusing power across the board. It’s a big mistake. A big mistake, and I would not do that.”

But now that he’s President, Biden is not only pushing for lower interest rates; he’s forecasting when the Federal Reserve should make the cut. At a press conference Wednesday, Biden said March’s hotter-than-expected inflation report will delay an interest-rate cut.

“This may delay it a month or so, I’m not sure of that. We don’t know what the Fed is going to do for certain,” Biden told reporters.

“But look, we have dramatically reduced inflation from 9 percent down to close to 3 percent. We’re in a situation where we’re better situated than we were when we took office, where inflation was skyrocketing,” he added.

Biden’s remarks follow similar comments he made last month during a campaign stop in Philadelphia, where he predicted rate cuts.

“I can’t guarantee it, but I’ll bet you — I’ll bet you those rates come down more because I bet you that little outfit that sets interest rates is going to come down,” he reportedly said—causing the White House to later clarify that Biden was offering his view of the economy, not making recommendations to the independent Fed.

Amidst the talk of rate cuts, prices outside the volatile food and energy categories rose 0.4% from February to March, the same accelerated pace as in the previous month. Measured from a year earlier, these core prices are up 3.8%, unchanged from the year-over-year rise in February. The Fed closely tracks core prices because they tend to provide a good read of where inflation is headed.

All that said, the Federal Reserve is supposed to make decisions on interest rates independent of politics. Biden’s Wednesday remarks were criticized for infringing on the Fed’s independence.

“Someone pull Biden’s mic or he will reveal just how ‘independent’ the Fed is,” ZeroHedge’s Twitter account quipped.

Meanwhile, on Wall Street, traders sent stock prices tumbling and bond yields rising Wednesday, reflecting fear that the Fed may delay interest rate cuts indefinitely. The broad S&P 500 stock index was off about 1% in late-morning trading.

Chair Jerome Powell has stressed that the Fed’s policymakers need more confidence that inflation is steadily slowing to their target level before they will support a rate cut. Lower rates could fuel faster growth and potentially push inflation higher. Powell’s stance has elevated the profile of the monthly inflation data in determining when the Fed might start cutting rates. Lower rates would lead, over time, to reduced borrowing costs for businesses and consumers.

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Ken Silva is an investigative reporter for Headline USA whose reporting interests include FBI corruption, clandestine government activities, and extremist groups.


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