December 25, 2020 - Douglas Myser

Fed calls on congress to boost economy. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell warned Congress against being too cautious in providing more relief to the economy, saying the country has suffered during past recessions because policymakers failed to do enough. Powell, speaking at a Senate Banking Committee hearing alongside Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, said the danger that the economy won't get enough aid is much bigger than that it will get too much. "The risk of overdoing it is less than the risk of underdoing it," he said. "People are always worried about doing too much, and you look back in hindsight and say, "Well, we didn't do too much. We might've done a little more and a little sooner." Fed calls on congress to boost economy.

Former Fed Chair Janet Yellen echoed Powell's remarks when she was formally introduced by President elect Joe Biden as his choice for Treasury Secretary. Said Yellen: "Lost lives, lost jobs, small businesses struggling to stay alive are closed for good. So many people struggling to put food on the table and pay bills and rent. It's an American tragedy. And it is essential we move with urgency. Inaction will produce a self-reinforcing downturn causing yet more devastation." Those comments came as a bipartisan group of lawmakers aimed to resuscitate talks on unemployment and other sectors that are being hammered the most by the coronavirus crisis. Politicians on both sides of the aisle have underlined the need for more aid, but talks have gone nowhere for months.

Mnuchin took heat from some Democratic lawmakers over his decision last month to terminate several Fed emergency lending programs at the end of the year, saying they were no longer needed. Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio, the top ranking Democrat on the panel, said the Treasury chief was either "purposefully trying to stop President elect Biden and Janet Yellen from getting to work for the people we all serve, or you're so delusional that you think because the stock market is back on everything is fine."