GOP B team hits out at the Fed

November 11, 2015

Republican presidential candidates piled on the Federal Reserve during the so-called “undercard” debate in Milwaukee on Tuesday night, accusing the U.S. central bank of keeping interest rates artificially low to boost the economy and help out the White House.

“When they first cut interest rates during the economic recession and the crisis, that was right thing to do,” New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said. “But they have kept those rates artificially low for one reason and one reason only: because they are trying to politically support Barack Obama and his agenda.”

Chris Christie, Mike Huckabee and Bobby Jindal debate during a forum for lower polling candidates held by Fox Business Network in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, November 10, 2015. REUTERS/Jim Young

The central bank got a drubbing in the early debate, which featured lower-polling presidential hopefuls who claimed the Fed’s low interest rates have mainly helped Wall Street banks and who endorsed reining in its authority over monetary policy.

“The Fed has manipulated the dollar so it doesn’t have a standard,” Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee said. “Tie the dollar to something fixed, and if it’s not going to be gold, make it the commodity basket.”

The pile-on came after front-runner Donald Trump last week called Fed Chair Janet Yellen “highly political.”

The Fed did not get as much focus during the primetime debate, which included Trump and the other top-polling Republican hopefuls. But senators Rand Paul and Ted Cruz repeated calls for the Fed to be subject to intensive government auditing beyond the current scrutiny of its books.

Paul has pushed legislation in Congress that would require the Fed to undergo increased auditing.

“It seems to be gaining a little bit of momentum. I think Rand’s playing a big part in that,” said Mark Spitznagel of Universa Investments, a Paul adviser.



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