Former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has defended the Federal Reserve's low interest-rate policy in his new blog
, but New York Post columnist Jonathon Trugman
"If Ben's ultra-low rate thesis were correct, we wouldn't be coming up on seven years of little growth," he writes.
The Fed has kept its federal funds rate target at a record low of zero to 0.25 percent since December 2008. The economy has grown only about 2.2 percent a year since the recovery began in 2009.
The Fed's rate policy has sparked criticism of the central bank for hurting senior citizens dependent on fixed-income payments.
Bernanke's response: "the best way to improve the returns attainable by savers was to do what the Fed actually did: keep rates low, so that the economy could recover and more quickly reach the point of producing healthier investment returns."
Trugman isn't convinced.
"Yes, stocks and bonds do rally when rates are very low, but only to the point where such amphetamine-charged growth peters out. In our economy, that seems to be about 2 percent per annum," he states.
"That is a level that has proved incapable of producing quality jobs or any sustainable wage gains."
What's the solution? "The hands-off policy that has led to more of us driving new cars could drive a robust economy too — if only we would let it," Trugman says.
Meanwhile, Brian Belski, chief investment strategist at BMO Capital Markets, says Friday's March jobs report was weak, but not weak enough to keep the Federal Reserve from raising interest rates this year.
Non-farm payrolls rose only 126,000 last month, the smallest gain since December 2013. The labor participation rate matched a 37-year low of 62.7 percent. And wages climbed just 2.1 percent in the 12 months through March.
"The report was mostly disappointing, but it's not surprising," given corporate retrenchment and bad weather, Belski tells CNBC
. "We don't think it takes the Fed off track from raising rates later this year."
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