The U.S. markets in December have taken a beating, posting the biggest losses for the month since 1931.
In all, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is off more than 3,300 points from its Sept. 21 high of 26,656.98 (though the index has risen about 500 points on the day Wednesday).
The Dow’s losses are tied to a number of uncertainties, we are told, including the trade war with China, the current partial government shutdown and, some believe, the fact that Democrats won the House in November and the Trump economic miracle is likely to be stymied.
But more and more economists are beginning to pin much of the blame on Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell for his succession of rate hikes beginning late in the third quarter. They see the hikes as pushing back against economic headwinds begun by POTUS Donald Trump’s pro-growth policies and the Republican-led tax cuts a year ago.
One of them is top financial analyst Burt Flickinger. He joined Charles Payne on Fox Business’ “Varney and Co.” on Wednesday to discuss Powell’s rate hikes and the state of the economy and markets.
He wasn’t complimentary.
“Here’s a guy who claims he’s a businessman in Powell, and he’s a country club privileged person from Princeton who has never run a business, never been an economist, making some major mistakes,” Flickinger said.
“I want a really good credentialed person running the Fed instead of getting this trainwreck under the Christmas tree,” he added.
The president has certainly been critical of Powell’s rate-hike decisions.
“The only problem our economy has is the Fed,” the president said in a tweet on Monday. “They don’t have a feel for the Market, they don’t understand necessary Trade Wars or Strong Dollars or even Democrat Shutdowns over Borders. The Fed is like a powerful golfer who can’t score because he has no touch – he can’t putt!”
The only problem our economy has is the Fed. They don’t have a feel for the Market, they don’t understand necessary Trade Wars or Strong Dollars or even Democrat Shutdowns over Borders. The Fed is like a powerful golfer who can’t score because he has no touch – he can’t putt!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 24, 2018
Others have also been critical of The Fed and Powell in particular, and for the same reason as Flickinger; Powell is a policy wonk academician, not an actual business guy.
The current market “correction is now all on the Fed. It over-reached just like virtually every other academic Fed, combating Ghosts of Inflation Past that haven’t appeared in decades,” writes Jonathon Trugman at the New York Post.
“Powell needs to expand his Rolodex to include more than just policy types and start speaking with some real-world practitioners,” he noted.
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