Thursday, July 18, 2024

Fed Chair Powell grilled over inflation and other economic issues at Congress

by BIZ Magazine

(The Center Square) – Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell was grilled over the current state of the United States economy during a hearing in front of Congress on Tuesday. The hearing covered issues such as rising inflation, immigration, and other economic issues.

Powell’s testimony was a part of his Semiannual Monetary Policy Report to the Congress.

Powell previously held a press conference in June where he discussed inflation, saying that inflation had “eased notably” over the past two years.

Powell also addressed the monetary policy actions aimed at tackling inflation at that press conference.

“My colleagues and I are acutely aware that high inflation imposes significant hardship, as it erodes purchasing power, especially for those least able to meet the higher costs of essentials like food, housing, and transportation,” Powell said, according to a transcript from the press conference. “Our monetary policy actions are guided by our dual mandate to promote maximum employment and stable prices for the American people.”

Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, brought up issues with the high costs and high interest rates in the U.S. at the opening of Tuesday’s hearing. Brown added that Americans are “pissed off” about these economic issues.

Brown said the Federal Reserve needs to have “high ethical standards” and referenced them needing to “protect Americans money.”

Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., slammed President Joe Biden during the hearing, saying that Biden “broke America’s economy” and that the Biden administration is “throwing the Fed under the bus.”

Scott also referenced the current high prices of food and other major costs that many American households are facing today, calling these issues a “crisis.”

Powell said during the hearing that the U.S. economy “continues to expand” and to show “modest” progress.

“After a lack of progress toward our 2% inflation objective in the early part of this year, the most recent monthly readings have shown modest further progress,” Powell said.

“We continue to make decisions meeting by meeting,” Powell said later in the hearing.

Sen. Jon Tester, D-Montana, asked Powell about issues pervading the housing market, including issues with housing affordability.

Powell cited Americans dealing with similar housing issues prior to the pandemic.

“We have significant housing issues in the country, and we had them before the pandemic,” Powell said in response. “Monetary policy works through interest-sensitive spending, and there is no more interest-sensitive spending than buying a house and having a mortgage.”

Sen. John Neely Kennedy, R-La., asked Powell about the “consumer-driven” aspect of America’s economy. He also grilled Powell about Americans being concerned about the country’s current economic state.

“Most Americans don’t feel good about the economy, do they?” Kennedy asked Powell.

Kennedy later brought up what he called “Bidenomics”, which was a line of questioning that Powell quickly shut down.

“I wouldn’t touch a sentence with that word in it,” Powell replied.

Immigration was another hot button topic being discussed during Powell’s testimony.

Powell said that the Federal Reserve “don’t comment on immigration policy,” in response to one question.

Sen. J.D. Vance, R-Ohio, asked Powell about the influx of immigration in America and how it has impacted the economy.

Powell also referred to immigration as “neutral” with regard to inflation during the hearing.

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