The Fed is very close to having satisfied its maximum employment and price stability mandates and you can see that most people feel good about the economy and the Fed.
But it would concern me — President Trump’s comments about Chair Powell and about the Fed do concern me, because if that becomes concerted, I think it does have the impact, especially if conditions in the U.S. for any reason were to deteriorate, it could undermine confidence in the Fed. And I think that that would be a bad thing.
Ryssdal: Do you think the president has a grasp of macroeconomic policy?
Yellen: No, I do not.
Ryssdal: Tell me more.
Yellen: Well, I doubt that he would even be able to say that the Fed’s goals are maximum employment and price stability, which is the goals that Congress have assigned to the Fed. He’s made comments about the Fed having an exchange rate objective in order to support his trade plans, or possibly targeting the U.S. balance of trade. And, you know, I think comments like that shows a lack of understanding of the impact of the Fed on the economy, and appropriate policy goals.
Officials are open to the possibility that the tax cut will raise the economy’s potential growth rate, although it isn’t their base case
conventional wisdom is that this is the wrong time for Republicans to cut taxes by $1.4 trillion over the next decade. The fiscal stimulus will overheat the economy and force the Federal Reserve to slow it down by raising interest rates more aggressively.
inflation is still too low, and that completely changes the equation: It suggests overheating is to be welcomed, not resisted.
officials are open to the possibility that the tax cut will raise the economy’s potential growth rate, which means faster growth wouldn’t necessarily lead to more inflation.
.. Ms. Yellen and her likely successor, Fed governor Jerome Powell, aren’t yet the party poopers many supply-side tax cut advocates feared.
.. [Larry Kudlow: ] The real test, he said, is how the Fed reacts if growth tops 3%
.. By 2020 Fed officials expect their benchmark federal-funds rate to reach 3.1%, which would be above the 2.8% they expect to prevail in a fully-employed economy growing normally
.. Ms. Yellen made it clear she didn’t agree with Mr. Trump and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin that the tax cut would pay for itself, and warned it may be “taking what is already a significant [debt] problem and making it worse.”
Ms. Yellen has a possibility of being renominated, according to this consensus, but it is only 22 percent; experts think that Kevin Warsh, a former Fed governor with deep Republican ties, has a slightly better chance at 23 percent.
.. The case for renominating Ms. Yellen is straightforward.
She has presided over four years of steady economic expansion and rising financial markets. She moved cautiously toward raising interest rates even though the economy seemed to be approaching full employment. By contrast, some more conservative contenders for the job have indicated they want to raise rates more quickly, which could endanger the economy as President Trump approaches midterm elections in 2018 and a potential re-election battle in 2020.
.. Moreover, as President Trump dabbles in making deals with Democrats, reappointing Ms. Yellen could serve as an expression of good faith to Democratic senators. As administration officials focus on tax legislation and other priorities on Capitol Hill, it might be helpful to them to nominate someone who might sail through confirmation, rather than demand a bruising, time-consuming battle.
.. The case against Ms. Yellen is similarly straightforward: She is a liberal economist in a government dominated by conservatives. She is a cerebral academic serving during the presidency of a bombastic businessman. And she is a staunch defender of the work the Fed and other bank regulators have done to try to limit risk in the financial system — including in a high-profile speech last month — amid an administration focused on deregulation.
Kevin Warsh: well connected, but with baggage
He has a law degree, but no advanced degree in economics.
.. Mr. Warsh has been a skeptic of the Fed’s efforts to boost the economy through quantitative easing and has advocated raising interest rates more quickly. He also has a regulatory philosophy more in line with the administration’s.
.. Mr. Warsh’s father-in-law is Ronald Lauder, of the Estée Lauder cosmetics fortune, a major Republican donor with longstanding ties to Mr. Trump.
.. If Mr. Warsh is nominated, expect significant blowback during the confirmation process from Democrats, who are likely to accuse the 47-year-old Mr. Warsh of being underqualified, of being responsible for the 2008 bank bailouts and inclined to regulate banks too lightly now, and of being too overtly political for the traditionally nonpartisan Fed chairmanship... Democrats would be eager to criticize the administration for naming a recent top executive at Goldman Sachs to be the nation’s most powerful financial regulator. Some populist Republicans might join them... Foremost among them are several of the names we would probably be hearing about if a conventional Republican president were in the White House.. John B. Taylor is a respected economist at Stanford who worked in the George W. Bush administration and has been an influential voice among congressional Republicans who want to see the Fed bound by stricter rules governing its actions.
Glenn Hubbard was a top economic adviser to Mr. Bush who is dean of Columbia Business School.
Larry Lindsey was another top adviser to Mr. Bush and a former Fed governor with an economics doctorate from Harvard.
.. Their doctorates and affiliations with top universities may actually be downsides in an administration that has shown disdain for academic expertise... other names has emerged in various reports, including the F.D.I.C. vice chairman Thomas Hoenig and John Allison
If you drew up a list of preconditions for recession, it would include the following: a labor market at full strength, frothy asset prices, tightening central banks, and a pervasive sense of calm.In other words, it would look a lot like the present.
.. Companies meanwhile have responded to slow, stable growth and low rates by borrowing heavily, often to buy back stock or pay dividends. Corporate debt as a share of economic output is at levels last seen just before the past two recessions.
.. Last week Janet Yellen, the Fed chairwoman, said she thought there wouldn’t be another financial crisis “in our lifetimes.” Fair enough: crises as catastrophic as the last happen twice a century. But small crises are inevitable as risk migrates to financial players who haven’t drawn the attention of regulators.
.. in a world with permanently lower inflation and growth, businesses will struggle to earn their way out of debt