On the 2016 campaign trail of tears, many observers were mud-wrestling with the question: Was Donald Trump the real deal, or was he – like the snake-oil salesman who preceded him – just another silver-tongued orator with a gift for bamboozling voters?
Just one week in office, the results are in: the maverick from Manhattan is pure 100 percent anti-establishment gold; the real deal. He’s already signed off on a raft of executive orders undoing a chunk of Obama’s last-minute legacy, including withdrawing the US from TPP and ordering bricks for his Mexican Wall.
The Washington elite, comfortable for so long in their lobbyist-bought fortress, are holding their breath as Trump continues draining the proverbial swamp. However, the real estate developer probably understands better than anyone that when you drain a fetid body of water you are bound to wake up some monsters
And we’re talking about Loch Ness-size monsters here. And while Trump’s mighty pen may have already slain some dragons, other creatures will require a bit more work. And there is no more fearsome creature in Washington, DC than the US Federal Reserve, which possesses the power to make and break presidencies.
Battle of titans: Trump vs. Yellen
Much like the US Supreme Court, the Federal Reserve is designed to serve as an apolitical institution operating beyond the pale of Washington intrigue and influence. However, trying to remove political inclinations from any Washington agency would be like trying to tell a New York Yankee fan to ignore baseball statistics.
Trump acknowledged as much in the heat of the campaign when he accused Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, 70, of suppressing interest rates due to political pressure from the Obama administration.
“Well, it’s [the interest rate] staying at zero because she’s obviously political and she’s doing what Obama wants her to do,” Trump told CNBC in September, saying Yellen should be “ashamed” of what she was doing to the economy.
Indeed, ‘doomsayers’ say the US economic recovery is a grand illusion conjured up by the Federal Reserve, which is printing money faster than toilet paper, propping up “too big to fail” institutions that should have gone the way of the dinosaurs. The Central Bank has raised interest rates just once since slashing them to zero following the 2008 financial crisis.