October was a brutal month for the stock market. After the Federal Reserve’s eighth interest rate hike, on September 26, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped more than 2,000 points, and the NASDAQ had its worst month in nearly 10 years. After the Dow lost more than 800 points on October 10 and the S and P 500 suffered its first week-long losing streak since Trump’s election, the president said, “I think the Fed is making a mistake. They are so tight. I think the Fed has gone crazy.” In a later interview on Fox News, he called the Fed’s rate hikes “loco.” And in a Wall Street Journal interview published on October 24, Trump said he thought the biggest risk to the economy was the Federal Reserve, because “interest rates are being raised too quickly.” He also criticized the Fed and its chairman in July and August.
Trump’s criticisms are worrisome to some commentators, who fear he is attempting to manipulate the Fed and its chairman for political gain. Ever since the 1970s, the Fed has declared its independence from government, and presidents are supposed to avoid influencing its decisions. But other Fed watchers think politicians should be allowed to criticize the market manipulations of an apparently out-of-control central bank.
Why the Frontal Attack?
Even if the president’s challenges are a needed check on the Fed, some question whether he is going about it in the right way. Challenging the central bank in public forces it to stick to…