Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell credits mass vaccination and relief bills.
Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said Sunday that the economy is likely about to boom, big time. And he credited two of President Joe Biden's efforts for that progress.
On CBS News' "60 Minutes," Powell observed that the economy appears to be at an "inflection point."
"We feel like we're at a place where the economy's about to start growing much more quickly and job creation coming in much more quickly," he said, noting, "we and a lot of private sector forecasters see strong growth and strong job creation starting right now. So really, the outlook has brightened substantially."
Powell was picked for the job by Donald Trump in November 2017. As he announced the nomination at a Rose Garden event, Trump called Powell "strong," "committed," and "smart," saying, "I am confident that with Jay as a wise steward of the Federal Reserve, it will have the leadership it needs in the years to come."
From the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, Powell warned that it could be a major economic threat. "We are closely monitoring the emergence of the coronavirus, which could lead to disruptions in China that spill over to the rest of the global economy," he said in February 2020.
Trump responded by pretending the problem would go away and continuing to attack Powell.
In October, Powell urged more congressional action to address the crisis and its economic fallout, and renewed efforts to curb the virus' spread.
"Too little support would lead to a weak recovery, creating unnecessary hardship for households and businesses," he told the National Association for Business Economics. "By contrast, the risks of overdoing it seem, for now, to be smaller."
He cautioned that "COVID-19 cases might again rise to levels that more significantly limit economic activity, not to mention the tragic effects on lives and well-being. Managing this risk as the expansion continues will require following medical experts' guidance, including using masks and social-distancing measures."
Since taking office, Biden has focused on vaccinating everyone and passing massive economic relief. Powell credited both on Sunday for the improved economic situation, saying it was "because of widespread vaccination and strong fiscal support, strong monetary policy support."
After Trump promised in the 2020 campaign to vaccinate just 200,000 people a day, Biden pledged to get that number up to 1 million a day for the first 100 days of his administration. He has far exceeded this goal and CNN reported Monday that at the current pace, half of U.S. adults could be at least partially inoculated by the end of the week.
Powell also expressly praised the pandemic relief bills, saying without them things "would've been so much worse." While some of the bills were bipartisan efforts under Trump, congressional Republicans refused to even consider a House-passed $3 trillion relief package for most of 2020 and unanimously opposed Biden's $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan.
Powell noted that his colleagues are forecasting "growth for this year in the range of 6% or 7%, which would be the highest level in, you know, 30 years — or even maybe a little bit higher."
Experts predict that growth could be even better if Congress enacts Biden's $2.25 trillion American Jobs Plan. A recent Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce analysis suggested an infrastructure bill around that size could boost GDP by up to $320 billion annually.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.