Will the Fed heads increase its benchmark interest rate at its regular meeting next month? Here, The Wall Street Journal posits that the timing may matter less than a shift in thinking about how low interest rates can distort the economy, thinking that has not been lost on the Administration in waiting.
If Mr. Trump indeed prioritizes infrastructure and tax cuts, financed with larger deficits, that’s bullish for near-term growth. It would also be inflationary, since the economy is already close to full employment. If Mr. Trump keeps his promise to restrict trade and immigration, that would constrain the economy’s supply side and add to the inflationary pressure.
That would prompt Mrs. Yellen and her colleagues to accelerate rate increases. The bond market may sense that: 10-year Treasury yields reached 1.96% Wednesday, the highest since March, apparently betting the burden of sustaining growth is shifting from monetary to fiscal policy, just as central bankers always hoped.
This seems premature. Mr. Trump hasn’t even begun negotiating with Congress, and it isn’t clear how stimulative a budget deal could be without inflating the federal deficit too much. Moreover, the Fed has no need to respond rapidly, since inflation is still below its 2% target.