In the News

St. Joseph News-Press Now
Ken Newton

Early in his work life, and long before his election to the U.S. Senate, Jerry Moran served as a small-town banker. This job offered but a distant relationship to Federal Reserve policies.

In recent days, the Kansas lawmaker has found himself a defender of the political independence of the central bank.

“The Fed has a dual goal. Neither one of those goals has to do with Republicans or Democrats,” Moran said Thursday. “It has to do with full employment and control of inflation.”

Moran, a Republican member of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, made the remarks on the CNBC financial program “Squawk Box.” He appeared the previous day on a Bloomberg TV show with basically the same message: keep partisan calculations away from the Fed.

“It is important that decisions be made not at the whim of a person,” the Kansan said. “But the motivation for making those decisions can not be politics.”

The comments come amid criticism of Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, a Trump administration appointee who has attracted presidential criticism for his “far too aggressive” raising of the central bank’s interest rates.

Trump believes the increases will stifle the nation’s economic recovery.

“Don’t let the market become any more illiquid than it already is,” the president wrote on Twitter last month. “Feel the market, don’t just go by meaningless numbers.”

Speaking Thursday at the Economic Club of Washington, D.C., Powell said the Fed had put itself in position to be “patient and flexible” in whatever happens with the economy, though he voiced caution about a worldwide economic slowdown and a rising level of debt by the American government.

“The U.S. economy is solid,” Powell told the group. “The principal worry I would have is global growth.”

Moran said the higher interest rates had been predictable because of policies of past Fed boards, the so-called “monetary easing,” or boosting the money supply, setting the stage for raising the more recent short-term lending benchmarks.

The Kansas senator said he backed administration actions aimed at creating better, higher-paying and more secure jobs.

He added, though, “We also know that there is a consequence that comes to those people that have those jobs if inflation takes away their earning power.”                                                                                                                                                                                                   

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