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Powell Says Fed Policies ‘Absolutely’ Don’t Add to Inequality

  • Says Main Street lending program ‘days away’ from starting
  • Dismisses negative rates as not appropriate for U.S.
Jerome Powell

Jerome Powell

Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell cast the central bank’s actions during the coronavirus crisis as aimed squarely at helping U.S. workers, a tactic to head off criticism which has dogged it since the last recession: that its policies primarily serve Wall Street and wealthier Americans.

The Fed’s flurry of emergency lending since mid-March has sought to stabilize financial markets and extend credit to companies struggling to find financing from banks and other traditional lending sources. That has helped buoy financial markets and again exposed the Fed to attacks for having rescued investors first. The central bank has attracted additional scrutiny for not mandating companies that access its support to maintain payrolls.