From The Washington Post:
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump on Monday accused the Federal Reserve of keeping interest rates low for political reasons, the latest in a string of often contradictory critiques of the nation’s central bank.
The Fed vehemently defends the setting of its influential interest rate as independent of political considerations — a principle that is considered fundamental not only to the Fed, but for central banks around the world. Yet speaking on CNBC, Trump said Fed Chair Janet Yellen should be “ashamed” of keeping interest rates so low for so long.
“She’s obviously political and doing what Obama wants her to do, and I know that’s not supposed to be the way it is,” Trump said.
The Fed typically lowers interest rates to encourage businesses and consumers to borrow money and spend it, boosting growth. Raising rates makes saving more attractive and helps rein in an overheating economy.
Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari — a Republican who ran for governor of California — rebutted Trump’s accusation on Monday.
“Politics simply does not come up,” Kashkari said on CNBC.
Trump’s remarks follow an interview with Reuters last week in which he blamed the Fed for creating a “false economy” and an “artificial stock market.” But the business mogul and former reality TV star has given conflicting assessments of the costs and benefits of low interest rates over the course of his campaign.
Just this spring, Trump told Fortune that low interest rates were “the best thing we have going for us” and said any increase could be “scary.” And Trump told CNBC in May that a rate hike could cause a “major problem,” particularly if the U.S. dollar strengthened considerably.
Trump’s attitude toward Yellen has also appeared …