United States President Donald Trump has called on the “boneheads” at the Federal Reserve to push interest rates down into negative territory. Such a move has been reluctantly used by central banks elsewhere to battle weak economic growth, but it risks punishing savers and banks’ earnings in the process.
In a pair of Twitter posts on Wednesday, Trump said negative rates would save the government money on its debt – which, including Social Security accounts, has reached a record $22 trillion on Trump’s watch.
He did not address the risks or financial market tensions that central banks in Europe and Japan have confronted as a result of their negative-rate policy. Trump also seems to have ignored the larger issue: negative rates have not secured higher growth or higher inflation for those economies.
“The Federal Reserve should get our interest rates down to zero, or less, and we should then start to refinance our debt. Interest cost could be brought way down, while at the same time substantially lengthening the term,” Trump tweeted.
“We have the great currency, power, and balance sheet … The USA should always be paying the … lowest rate. No Inflation!”
“It is only the lack of wisdom of Jay Powell and the Federal Reserve that doesn’t allow us to do what other countries are already doing,” added Trump, who has repeatedly noted that rates are negative in Germany, Europe’s trading powerhouse.
The president’s comments precede a week in which the world’s major central banks, including the Fed, are expected to lower rates or otherwise loosen monetary policy in what is widely seen as a coordinated move to protect the global economy against risks partly rising from Trump’s trade war with China.