Surabian: Jerome Powell’s Never-Ending War on the Trump Economy Gives China the Upper Hand

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 02: (L to R) U.S. President Donald Trump looks on as his nominee for the chairman of the Federal Reserve Jerome Powell takes to the podium during a press event in the Rose Garden at the White House, November 2, 2017 in Washington, DC. Current Federal …
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President Donald Trump has launched an unprecedented economic campaign to free America from the world’s most cancerous economy. However, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell is helping China survive it through policies seemingly designed to undermine Trump and help the left.

Powell is responsible for turning the president’s trade strategy into a never-ending trade war. Doing so has not only likely gotten his name in the running for China’s all-time favorite U.S. dignitary, but it has also provided the Never Trump media the ammunition it has needed to project the president’s base, particularly among farmers and middle-income earners, as deteriorating more by the day.

When Powell was first being considered for the post of Federal Reserve Chairman back in 2017, I publicly warned that Powell was an “insider in the pocket of financial elites.” And in December of this year, CNBC Mad Money host Jim Cramer contended that Jerome Powell is Trump’s worst re-election nightmare.

Powell’s recent statements and actions substantiate both of our concerns in more ways than one. He is way ahead of former New York Fed President Bill Dudley’s August 27 suggestion of swaying the 2020 election against Trump by using the Fed’s power to strengthen the hand of Xi Jinping and the Democrats.

Powell raised the U.S’s benchmark interest rate target four times last year at a time when China continually looked for ways to lower its own. By giving the yuan a much weaker standing in the exchange market, the Fed chairman provided the Chinese every incentive to flood the U.S. with cheap goods and U.S. businesses every reason to accept them. As a result of Powell’s actions, the U.S.-China trade deficit increased by nearly one million from January to December despite the White House’s implementation of hefty tariffs during that period.

Even after backing down somewhat from his aggressive hikes, Powell still found a way to help rig the economic data in the Democrats’ favor. Shortly after cutting rates for the first time in July, Powell said that the reduction was merely a “midcycle adjustment.” This announcement sent the stock market in a tailspin as consumers and investors began to anticipate higher than expected U.S. rates in the months to come. The media began to talk up a recession, all while playing up economy-centered polling that was unfavorable to the president.

All these decisions by Powell represent Democrat-First, not America-First, thinking. Then again, the Democrat-First mantra appears to be exactly what the Fed chairman is going for.

Powell has advanced the causes of the left directly as much as he has done so subtly. He’s even abandoned his supposed deregulatory instincts to help leading Democrat presidential candidates receive electoral victories.

For example, just weeks after Elizabeth Warren experienced a surge in national polling, Powell’s Fed announced plans to create a system to process instantaneous bank transfers, known as real-time payments (RTP). The timing of this Fed announcement was quite curious for a multitude of reasons, as this issue was one that Warren took up with legislation less than two weeks earlier.

With the private sector already connecting 50 percent of U.S. checking account volume to a RTP system, and near-100-percent connectivity expected in just a few years, there is no reason for the Fed to get involved. It will cut completely against the grain of Trump’s executive order requiring that for each new regulation, two be revoked. However, it will give a leading Trump contender a new stump speech talking point, and that seems to be all that’s important to Powell’s Fed.

There is no threat more significant to the president’s re-election prospects than the Fed chairman himself – and nothing would benefit the Communist Party of China more than a reprieve from the onslaught to its gratuitous economic and human rights abuses currently underway.

The White House needs to spend at least as much time fending off his aggression as they are in taming hostility from China. Failing to do so could produce devastating results come November.

Andy Surabian is a Republican strategist and adviser to Donald Trump Jr. He served previously as a special assistant to President Trump and deputy strategist in the White House.

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