Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren has criticized the Federal Reserve for its continued push to increase interest rates, suggesting further rises could threaten jobs.
“How many people need to lose their jobs before the Fed stops its extreme interest rate hikes?” Warren tweeted on Friday as reports suggested the Fed is planning to raise interest rates again this year.
The Fed, which is the U.S. central bank, is expected to raise interest rates by 0.25 percent at its next two meetings as part of ongoing efforts to tackle inflation, before pausing further rises.
On December 14, the Fed’s rate-setting committee raised the benchmark rate by 0.5 percent, increasing its target rate into a range between 4.25 percent and 4.5 percent. That’s the highest level in 15 years.
Warren has repeatedly criticized the Fed for interest rate hikes and warned that high interest rates could lead to a rise in unemployment.
On January 12, Warren tweeted: “Inflation has been slowing down for six months now. Families are getting relief. So before the Fed decides to jack up interest rates again and risk throwing millions of Americans out of work, they should take a look at the data.”
Warren is not alone in her criticism of the Fed and the anger appears to be bipartisan.
Republican Senator Rick Scott shared an article from The Wall Street Journal to Twitter that reported that existing-home sales had declined.
“Reckless spending has severe consequences for our economy. As prices hit record highs in 2022, the Fed raised interest rates in an attempt to curb inflation,” Scott said. “The result? Existing-home sales hit their lowest level since 2014.”
Dion Rabouin, reporter with The Wall Street Journal, argued in a Twitter thread on Friday that the Fed was “ignoring its critics.”
He said that the Fed “is raising interest rates at a pace we haven’t seen in 40 years and to a level we haven’t seen since the financial crisis.”
“There are numerous accomplished, mainstream, highly credentialed people telling them that they are making a mistake. And the Fed is again ignoring these people and their very valid arguments that their actions are doing more harm than good,” Rabouin said.
Inflation has been falling consistently since reaching near 40-year highs. The annualized rate of inflation in December was 6.5 percent, down from 7.1 percent in November in what will likely be seen as another indication that U.S. inflation had peaked after previously reaching a 40-year high.
That is an improvement but the Fed’s target is an annualized inflation rate of 2 percent and the central bank has repeatedly indicated its intention to address inflation through interest rate rises.
While Warren has warned about the threat of unemployment, the U.S. unemployment rate has remained low and was 3.5 percent in December, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), while the country added 223,000 non-farm payroll jobs.
Newsweek has reached out to the Federal Reserve for comment.