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Fed needs to hit pause on hikes

The Honorable Sheila C. Bair
 

By Sheila Bair (original source Yahoo Finance)

“Since I was a child, I’ve always been a bit of a contrarian. Knowing this, my mother would routinely bend me to her will by asking me to do the opposite of what she wanted. If she wanted me to go outside to play, she would say it was too cold. When she wanted me to start taking piano lessons, she told me I wasn’t old enough to learn. She even got me to start mowing the grass by slyly commenting to my father that I wasn’t strong enough to push the mower.

I grew up thinking I was defiantly independent of my mother’s influence, when, of course, I was doing exactly what she wanted. Fortunately, my contrariness led me (unwittingly) to do the right thing. (Mom always knew best.) In contrast, I fear that Federal Reserve officials will do precisely the wrong thing at the next Federal Open Markets Committee (FOMC) meeting by raising rates to show their independence from the president, who is publicly bullying them against such a move. Instead, they should heed the market which is flashing warnings, and listen to a growing chorus of experts encouraging them to hit pause on interest rate hikes. Fortunately, recent comments by the Fed’s new vice chair, Rich Clarida, and its chair, Jay Powell, suggest they may just be independent enough of the president to rethink interest rate policy, despite his hectoring.”

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