With Trump getting increasingly more vocal, and critical about the Fed’s rate hikes in recent weeks, on Wednesday morning the president’s top economic advisor and former CNBC anchor Larry Kudlow, speaking at the Washington Post State of Small Business conference said that President Trump has not made the phone call “yet” to Fed Chair Powell to complain about rising rates.
Kudlow also said that Trump hasn’t been seeking to replace Powell, adding that Trump is not disrupting the Fed’s independence and that the Fed and Trump share a similar goal of “non-inflationary growth.”
Speaking at the same conference, Kudlow said that Trump’s meeting with China President Xi Jinping later this month would be formal and might include a meal; the hope is that the leaders might break the “logjam” between the countries although “nothing is set in stone on China tariffs.”
Kudlow also said that Trump will “aggressively” pursue his agenda against China if no deal reached on intellectual property theft, cybersecurity and tariffs on commodities, among other issues. Curiously, Kudlow’s preview of the speech came just moments before Trump tweeted that he had a “long and very good conversation with President Xi Jinping of China” during which the “emphasis was on Trade” with Trump adding that “those discussions are moving along nicely.”
Trump’s tweet sparked a sharp reversal in the market, with the Dow now up over 200 points, after turning briefly red after today’s disappointing manufacturing ISM survey.
Kudlow said that Trump has no plans to change “large” entitlement programs, and warned that “if Democrats take the House in midterm elections and seek higher taxes, Trump would veto such increases.”
Finally, Trump’s advisor said he would oppose any deal that would raise the federal minimum wage. “My view is no. My view is a federal minimum wage is a terrible idea, and will damage, in particular, small businesses,” he said when asked about the prospect at the Washington Post conference.
Kudlow said he opposed the federal minimum wage because state and local economies were so varied, and a one-size-fits all approach would not work, but he also said that he opposed minimum wages at the state and local level. He argued that the best way to help ordinary workers was to cut corporate taxes. Workers wages have remained largely stagnant in recent years, though monthly wage data spiked in the last quarter according to new government data.
Democrats have pushed for increasing the federal minimum wage to as much as $15 an hour, over double its current rate of $7.25.