Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell testified before the Senate Banking Committee Wednesday. Last week the Fed ordered the largest interest rate increase since 1994. Powell acknowledged the rate hike could lead to a recession and would not lead to lower gas and food prices. Powell was questioned by Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren: “Chair Powell, will gas prices go down as a result of your interest rate increase?”
Jerome Powell: “I would not think so, no.”
Sen. Elizabeth Warren: “OK. And that matters because gas prices are one of the single biggest drivers of inflation. … Chair Powell, will the Fed’s interest rate increases bring food prices down for families?”
Jerome Powell: “I wouldn’t say so, no.”
Sen. Elizabeth Warren: “The reason I raise this and the reason I’m so concerned about this is rate increases make it more likely that companies will fire people and slash hours to shrink wage costs. Rate increases also make it more expensive for families to do things like borrow money for a house. And so far, the cost this year of a mortgage has already doubled.”