Given that the economy is at or near full employment the point where much faster growth could spur inflation Yellen will be watching carefullyand couldtake away the punch bowl just as the party gets going, as the famous saying goes on the Feds job to keep the economy from overheating. Joseph Gagnon, a former Fed economist and a fellow at thePeterson Institute for International Economics, said he couldnt recall a period when there wasa large fiscal injection at a timethe economy was at full employment. The last big stimulus package, about$800 billion of federal spending and tax cuts, waspassed at the start of President Obamas first term in early 2009 to fight the Great Recession. How Trump could use the presidency to help his business interests The opportunity for fiscal stimulus in doing good is gone, Gagnon said, arguing that if anything, it wouldonly cause the Fed to raise rates faster. With more money chasing higher rates in the U.S., he said, that would push up the dollar, which in turn would hurtthe housing market and Trumps effort to correct the nations trade imbalance. As former Fed officials and historians know, White House staff in the past, for example in the Nixon administration, leaned on the Fed to back off raising rates and keep the money supply flowing. Even so, most economists dont think Trump should be worried about Yellen taking away the punch bowl. For one thing, even if the Fed raised rates four times next year, the so-called federal funds rate would still probably end 2017 at 1.5% to 1.75% well below normal for the benchmark overnight lending level.
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