Fed Signals Hands-Off Approach to Interest Rates as Inflation Continues to Burden Consumers

As part of the summary of the quarterly banking meetings, Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell announced on Wednesday that the Federal Open Market Committee would not make any changes to interest rates for the fourth consecutive time.

The Fed has not reduced interest rates in the fourth consecutive year, and they remain at their highest level since 2001. They insist that they are working to get inflation back down to the Fed’s goal of only two percent. Consumer Price Index data showed that core annualized inflation is still nearly twice the Fed’s target of 3.9 percent.

The release of Wednesday’s statement did not include a phrase that was included in every FOMC report since March 2023, when Silicon Valley Bank and First Republic Bank failed.

Readers will likely be aware that inflation has not decreased, but has rather slowed. The news about interest rates comes the same day Issues & Insights/TIPP releases its latest poll on American consumers. It finds that shockingly, two-thirds of respondents said they were “living paycheck to paycheck” under Bidenomics.

The U.S. is still a wealthy nation compared to other countries, but nearly two-thirds of Americans claim to be “living paycheck to paycheck” these days, according to the I&I/TIPP poll, which was conducted between Jan. 3 and 5, among 1,401 registered voters. The margin of error for the poll is +/-2.6 percentage points.

The shocking news comes at a time when many Wall Streeters and politicians are praising recent data that show a solid fourth-quarter growth rate, as well as slowed inflation.

It’s also surprising that public concern is bipartisan. 63% of Democrats and 67% of Republicans say they barely scrape by on each paycheck.

Even from the President’s party, this is not exactly a vote of confidence in the current residents of the White House.

This story is in progress. Updates will be posted as soon as they are available.