Is the Federal Reserve’s interest rate too high?
Bernie Sanders (Dropped out)
U.S. senator, Vermont
Sanders is no longer running for president. “The Fed must become a more democratic institution that represents the needs of ordinary Americans and small businesses, not Wall Street billionaires,” Sanders told The Post. He “disagreed with the Fed’s decision to increase rates from 2015-2018. Raising rates should be done as a last resort, not to fight phantom inflation. We also need to cap credit card interest rates at no more than 15 percent and give Americans the opportunity to receive affordable banking services at the post office.”Candidate positions highlighted
Joe Sestak (Dropped out)
Former U.S. representative, Pennsylvania
Sestak is no longer running for president. The Federal Reserve’s interest rate is not too high, Sestak told The Post.Candidate positions highlighted
Marianne Williamson (Dropped out)
Williamson is no longer running for president. “The interest rate is fine for now. The Federal Reserve has already lowered the rate twice this year, and is at a relatively low level,” Williamson told The Post. “The Fed needs to retain the ability to lower the rate as a tool to soften the next recession when it comes, so it’s best to hold steady for now.”Candidate positions highlighted
The Fed should operate independent of politics
The Fed should operate independent of politics
Former vice president
“Donald Trump’s attempts to manipulate the interest rates set by the Federal Reserve — an independent institution — is an abuse of power. No president — or even a candidate for president — should be tweeting or commenting on an institution that requires independence to fulfill its duties,” Biden told The Post. “As president, I will rebuild the middle class and create an inclusive economy where everybody comes along — regardless of race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, or disability. And I believe we can achieve this goal without compromising the critical independence of institutions, like the Federal Reserve.”Candidate positions highlighted
Michael Bennet (Dropped out)
U.S. senator, Colorado
Bennet is no longer running for president. “Despite Donald Trump’s attempts to politicize the Federal Reserve, decisions about interest rates should be made independent of politics, so I won’t weigh in on interest rate levels,” Bennet told The Post. “More broadly, the Fed has often fallen short of its full employment mandate, which has harmed workers, especially those trying to make ends meet. As president, my Federal Reserve Board appointees will prioritize the employment mandate and consider every tool available to achieve that mandate.”Candidate positions highlighted
Cory Booker (Dropped out)
U.S. senator, New Jersey
Booker is no longer running for president. Booker believes the Fed should operate independently, a campaign spokesman told The Post. “Historically, the Federal Reserve has raised interest rates when the economy has reached full employment — periods with low unemployment where wage growth outpaces inflation. Our economy isn’t there yet,” Booker told The Post. “Despite low unemployment, wage growth is recovering slowly after years of low growth that left many families struggling to make ends meet, while inflation remains low.”Candidate positions highlighted
Steve Bullock (Dropped out)
Bullock is no longer running for president. “Unlike the dangerous precedent set by Trump, as President I will allow the Fed to set interest rates without political influence,” Bullock told The Post. “The fact that Trump is inserting himself into monetary policy for his own political gain is alarming behavior that cannot become normalized.”Candidate positions highlighted
Pete Buttigieg (Dropped out)
Former mayor, South Bend, Ind.
Buttigieg is no longer running for president. “Presidents should not comment directly on Federal Reserve policy, and I will prioritize the independence of the Fed,” Buttigieg told The Post. “The Federal Reserve’s dual mandate is important, and it should be focused on its role of supporting the goals of full employment and stable prices.”Candidate positions highlighted
John Delaney (Dropped out)
Former U.S. representative, Maryland
Delaney is no longer running for president. “I support the Federal Reserve’s traditional independence, and believe that monetary policy should be made by experts and not influenced by political considerations,” Delaney told The Post.Candidate positions highlighted
Deval Patrick (Dropped out)
Former governor, Massachusetts
Patrick is no longer running for president. The Federal Reserve should operate independent of politics, a Patrick campaign spokesperson told The Post.Candidate positions highlighted
Tom Steyer (Dropped out)
Steyer is no longer running for president. “No, the interest rate is not too high, but as President, I would honor the dual mandate of the Federal Reserve and independence in setting interest rates to meet its goals and maintain a healthy economy,” Steyer told The Post.Candidate positions highlighted
Elizabeth Warren (Dropped out)
U.S. senator, Massachusetts
Warren is no longer running for president. “The Fed’s mandate is to balance long-term price stability with full employment. I respect the Fed’s independence in setting interest rates to achieve these two goals,” Warren told The Post.Candidate positions highlighted
Andrew Yang (Dropped out)
Yang is no longer running for president. “The Federal Reserve is intended to be an apolitical independent body. As president, [Yang] would work to preserve its independence and limit it from political influence so it can effectively conduct monetary policy to promote employment, stabilize prices, and moderate long-term interest rates,” his campaign told The Post.Candidate positions highlighted
Mike Bloomberg (Dropped out)
Former New York mayor
Bloomberg is no longer running for president. Bloomberg did not answer this question by publication.Candidate positions highlighted
Julian Castro (Dropped out)
Former mayor, San Antonio
Castro is no longer running for president. Castro did not provide an answer to this question by publication.Candidate positions highlighted
Tulsi Gabbard (Dropped out)
U.S. representative, Hawaii
Gabbard is no longer running for president. Gabbard did not provide an answer to this question by publication.Candidate positions highlighted
Kamala D. Harris (Dropped out)
U.S. senator, California
Harris is no longer running for president. Harris did not provide an answer to this question by publication.Candidate positions highlighted
Amy Klobuchar (Dropped out)
U.S. senator, Minnesota
Klobuchar is no longer running for president. Klobuchar did not provide an answer to this question by publication.Candidate positions highlighted
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Background Presidents nominate top Federal Reserve officials, but the country’s central bank is designed to operate independently so its decisions are not criticized as political. But Trump has publicly pressured the Fed to lower interest rates to encourage economic growth. Chairman Jerome Powell resisted those calls in November, saying he saw “no reason” to further cut interest rates.
The Post is sending detailed questionnaires to every Democratic candidate asking for their stances on various issues. See all the issues we’ve asked about so far.
See our other questions on economic inequality:
- Do you support a tax on the assets held by the wealthiest Americans?
- Should the federal government pay a universal basic income to every American adult?
- How many weeks should the United States mandate in paid family leave for workers?
- Should the federal government pay reparations to the descendants of slaves?
- Do you support raising the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour nationwide?
- Should the federal government guarantee a job to every American?
- Do you support breaking up big tech companies such as Facebook, Google and Amazon?
- Do you support raising the federal corporate income tax rate above its current level of 21%?
- Do you support a national rent control cap?
- Fed Chairman Jerome Powell has said the current increase in the debt-to-GDP ratio is unsustainable. Would you commit to stabilizing or lowering the debt-to-GDP ratio during your first term?
- Would you maintain the standard deduction and child tax credit increases from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act?
How candidate positions were compiled
The Washington Post sent a detailed questionnaire to every Democratic presidential campaign asking whether it supports various changes to U.S. economic policy. Candidates with similar stances were organized into groups using a combination of those answers, legislative records, action taken in an executive role, and other public comments, such as policy discussion on campaign websites, social media posts, interviews, town hall meetings and other news reports and surveys. See something we missed? Let us know.
This page will update as we learn more about the candidates’ plans. We also will note if candidates change their position on an issue. At initial publication, this page included major candidates who had announced a run for president. If a candidate dropped out after a question was published here, their stance is included under the "Show former candidates" option. If they dropped out before a question was first published, the Post did not reach out to get their stance.
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Candidate illustrations by Ben Kirchner.