President Trump and others are cautioning Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell to press 'pause' on raising interest rates as stocks continue to drop amid Wall Street anxiety. While 2018 was a robust year for the US economy, and a majority of Americans remain hopeful for the future, some are worried a recession may be coming.
On Monday, the Dow dropped another 500 points, and for the month it has dropped 7.5 percent. That's the worst December on Wall Street since the Great Depression. Investors and economists are clearly pessimistic about 2019.
Jonathan Corpina of Meridian Equity Partners said, "In reality, if anything is going to happen, it's going to have to happen this week. I think clearly from Wall Street to Main Street the concept of recession is certainly coming back into conversations."
On the CBN News program Faith Nation, Financial Issues radio host Dan Celia says despite Wall Street's fears, the economy remains strong.
"The economy has tapped on the brakes a little bit, maybe slowed just a... more in slowing of confidence, maybe business investment," Celia said. "Businesses had anticipated spending, maybe they're holding back a little bit. But all in all, the fundamentals are about as strong as we've seen in about 14 years."
Investors are concerned about a federal judge's recent ruling declaring Obamacare unconstitutional. The decision is expected to be appealed, but the future of healthcare for millions of Americans is in doubt and healthcare stocks dropped dramatically after the decision.
Also of concern: The future of the China trade dispute, a weakening world economy, and rising interest rates.
This week, the Federal Reserve meets and may raise rates again. That means American consumers could end up paying more on their credit cards, auto loans, and mortgages.
President Trump blasted the Fed, tweeting on Monday:
"It is incredible that with a very strong dollar and virtually no inflation, the outside world blowing up around us, Paris is burning and China way down, the Fed is even considering yet another interest rate hike. Take the victory!"
While a majority of Americans remain positive about the future, a growing number of those polled no longer share the president's optimism.
A new Fox News poll shows 51 percent of Americans remain hopeful about the country's direction, but the largest majority since August 2012 – 44 percent – are not so hopeful. Meanwhile, 53 percent say 2018 was a good year for them, but only 40 percent say it was good for the United States.
The mixed reactions come as the federal government braces for a possible shutdown this Friday at midnight. So far, President Trump seems unwilling to budge over $5 billion in border wall funding. Some Republicans say the president's Christmas timing is bad. They're still trying to convince him to accept a short term funding bill and put off the border wall battle until early next year.
Congress has already approved funding for most agencies, so if a shutdown happens it will only affect about 25 percent of the government. However, departments that would be affected include:
the Justice Department,
and Transportation, among others.
About 420,000 workers considered essential for national security will stay on the job, but they won't be getting paid. Another 380,000 government workers would be sent home until a shutdown is over.