Trump: Janet Yellen should be 'ashamed of herself'

Trump claims Yellen is playing politics with Fed policy
Trump claims Yellen is playing politics with Fed policy

With all due respect to Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, investors are more concerned about what Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen will do next with interest rates than who will succeed Barack Obama as president.

Trump seems to get that. That may be a reason why he launched another attack against Yellen and the Fed on Monday.

Speaking on CNBC, Trump said that Yellen should be "ashamed of herself" for keeping interest rates low and creating a "false stock market."

Trump has said on numerous occasions that if he's elected, he would replace Yellen when her term ends in 2018. Last October, Trump accused Yellen on Bloomberg TV of keeping rates low for "political" reasons.

There are several problems with Trump's argument though. For one, Yellen, who is a Democrat, is merely following the lead of her predecessor -- who up until last year was a Republican.

Ben Bernanke is the true architect of most of today's Fed policy. He is now an Independent. But he was a Republican throughout his tenure as Fed chair. And he was appointed by a Republican president -- George W. Bush.

Bernanke slashed rates to near zero in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis -- the last days of Bush's presidency.

Related: Donald Trump thinks Fed has created a 'false economy'

It is certainly true that Bernanke and Yellen have kept rates low throughout all of President Obama's two terms. And that has arguably been the main reason why the stock market has held up much better than the broader economy for the past eight years.

But you can actually trace back the roots of today's super low interest rates to policies put into place by Bernanke's predecessor ... another Republican by the name of Alan Greenspan. Heard of him?

Greenspan was appointed by Ronald Reagan, another Republican and hero of the modern GOP. In fact, Trump's running mate Mike Pence and former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, also a Republican, have been comparing Trump to Reagan.

Of course, it is worth noting that Democrat Bill Clinton (did you know he's Hillary's husband? Heh.) kept Greenspan in place throughout his two terms in office. So there actually is a recent precedent for presidents to NOT interfere with the Fed.

It's also a bit curious why Trump is upset with Yellen and the Fed other than the fact that he's trying to score political points with his base.

After all, Trump has admitted numerous times that low interest rates have been personally good for his real estate empire. And he hasn't quite been consistent in how he feels about Yellen.

Only a few months ago, he told The Wall Street Journal that he had "great respect " for Yellen and that raising rates would be a "disaster."

Related: What the heck is the Fed waiting for to hike rates?

So it appears that Trump's views on Yellen and the Fed's interest rate policy are constantly changing.

He is correct though that the Fed may be artificially boosting the stock markets. But that's something it has been doing for decades ... with the blessing of both Democratic and Republican leaders.

It's also odd that Trump is criticizing the Fed now. Many on Wall Street believe Yellen will raise rates in December -- at the Fed's first policy meeting after the election. Some think the Fed will raise rates numerous times next year too.

So if Trump wins, it will be interesting to see if he praises Yellen for doing what he's now calling for -- or if he blames her if the market throws a rate hike hissy fit like it often does.

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