Chosen by U.S. President Donald Trump, the incoming Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell is for the expected trillion-dollar tax cut as his view remains that the economy maintains lacking sufficient momentum.
Powell’s statements through the year show he sees minimal risk that inflation that would encourage the Fed to hike up rates earlier than expected, and believes that weak wage growth is an indication that sidelined workers remain to be drawn into jobs.
Friday’s employment data showed that November grew faster than anticipated, but wage growth remained subdued. The share of working age adults with jobs continued a firm, six-year recovery that is approaching a pre-crisis high. Although the unemployment rate is at a 17-year low of 4.1 percent, “there’s no sense of an overheating economy or a particularly tight labor market,” Powell told the Senate Banking Committee, stating that the Fed should gradually raise interest rates.
Analysts are beginning to anticipate more of a dovish surprise when Powell takes over in February, the tax cuts may begin, and the Fed stands aside. Powell’s experience as an investment banker rather than as an economist indicate “a more data-driven Fed, which at the current juncture means a more dovish Fed,” until inflation recovers, said Robin Brooks chief economist. Brooks expects the Fed under Powell to only raise taxes twice in 2018.
The economy is about half a percentage point below full employment which typically leads to prices and wages increasing. But, this is not the case. Into that mix, the tax cut bill would bring back billions to corporations and households. Powell’s outlook on the tax bill is uniform with Trump and current chair Janet Yellen.
Powell avoided comments and endorsements of the pending legislation, telling lawmakers fiscal policy was their area. But, when Powell was asked about Fed staff research that contested a main Republican proposal that corporate tax cuts will generate jobs, Powell remained quiet.
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“It’s just someone’s research,” Powell told senators. “Don’t associate that with a position of the board.”