Fed Chair: The Fed Can’t Do Much to Fix a Trade War

Stefani Reynolds/CNP via ZUMA

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Fed chair Jay Powell says our economy’s biggest problem isn’t unemployment or consumer spending or business investment, all of which could benefit from an interest rate cut. Our biggest problem is trade uncertainty, and it’s not clear that a rate cut would help with that:

“While monetary policy is a powerful tool that works to support consumer spending, business investment, and public confidence, it cannot provide a settled rule book for international trade,” Mr. Powell said, speaking from prepared remarks in Jackson, Wyo., at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City’s annual symposium.

….“Trade policy uncertainty seems to be playing a role in the global slowdown and in weak manufacturing and capital spending in the United States,” Mr. Powell said, adding that there were “no recent precedents to guide any policy response to the current situation.”

Translation: Donald Trump has only himself to blame if the economy gets wobbly. It’s mostly due to Trump’s own trade war and the uncertainty surrounding it, and there’s really nothing the Fed can do about it. The only person who can is Donald Trump, by cutting some deals and ending the trade war.

But my guess is that once his aides have explained to Trump that Powell was criticizing him, he will double down on his attacks on the Fed and start wailing even harder about how we’re being cheated by the rest of the world. In fact, let’s check. Ah yes, here it is already:

Atta boy, Donald. Blame all your idiocies on someone else. It’s always worked before, after all.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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