Trump calls for Fed 'boneheads' to slash interest rates to zero

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President Trump on Wednesday continued his attacks on the Federal Reserve, calling the central bank and its chairman, Jerome Powell, “boneheads” and urging the central bank to cut interest rates to zero or set negative rates.

The president’s tweets are the latest broadside against the Fed and Powell, whom he picked to head the central bank last year, and come as he has lamented that some European countries have negative interest rates, which he says puts the U.S. economy at a disadvantage.

“The Federal Reserve should get our interest rates down to ZERO, or less, and we should then start to refinance our debt,” Trump said in a series of tweets, adding the U.S. has “the great currency, power, and balance sheet” and “should always be paying the the lowest rate.”

“It is only the naïveté of Jay Powell and the Federal Reserve that doesn’t allow us to do what other countries are already doing,” he added. “A once in a lifetime opportunity that we are missing because of ‘Boneheads.’”

Trump has been pushing the Fed to slash interest rates, but he has never before demanded the central bank to cut rates below zero. The president has blamed the Fed and Powell for holding back economic growth and has ramped up his attacks as some analysts have warned about an economic slowdown.

But the U.S. economy has continued to grow, and consumer spending, a major driver of economic growth, surged in July, according to data from the Commerce Department.

Powell and fellow Fed officials cut interest rates to a range of 2% to 2.25% in July for the first time since the 2008 financial crisis and they are expected to lower rates again when Fed officials meet next week in Washington, D.C.

Last week, Powell said in a speech the central bank has throughout the year “seen fit to lower the expected path of interest rates.”

“That has supported the economy,” he said. “That’s one of the reasons why the outlook is still a favorable one despite these crosswinds we’ve been facing.”

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