Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich in an interview on TheStreet said the Fed should hold off on tapering bond purchases. "I would wait until the economy was pretty safe," Reich said, with "two quarters of economic growth over 3%, unemployment down, under 7% for at least two quarters, hopefully about 6.5% or 6.2%," followed by the publication of the Fed's plan for ending QE3. Jim Cramer said in an interview on that the decline in mortgage loan application was "horrendous," and that "maybe tapering is off the table, or a small taper," since "people feel that rates have peaked," which may have "obviated the need for the Fed to do anything at all." Former Wells Fargo Chairman and CEO Richard Kovacevich in an interview Friday on CNBC said that since the Fed has signaled a tapering of bond purchases "it would be shocking to the market if they do not taper." He added that the amount of tapering is "not relevant," and then said "I don't think QE3 is working, so I would definitely do a $20 billion reduction in bond purchases , but if you don't like $20 billion do $10 billion ." He also suggested that the Fed curb purchases of Treasury bonds and not mortgage-backed securities, because "that's the least valuable." Adding fuel to the Federal Reserve fire, Japan's Nikkei newspaper on Friday said President Obama was close to nominating former Treasury secretary Lawrence Summers as the next Federal Reserve chairman, to succeed Ben Bernanke. There have been many reports suggesting the president would nominate Janet Yellen to be the next Fed chair, since she is already a member of the FOMC, is the Vice Chairwoman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, is known to have similar views to Bernanke, and is considered a less controversial choice than Summers. But Newedge director of market strategy Robbert van Batenburg in a report on Monday wrote that "in the perverse logic that is so prevalent in DC these days, Summers might actually be easier to get through the Committee than Yellen." "While some Democrats have an aversion to Summers, their party allegiance would make it unlikely for any of them to deliberately block Obama's choice by putting a hold on the former Treasury Secretary," he wrote, adding "Republicans may actually prefer Summers over Yellen given their antipathy for the Fed's unrestrained Quantitative Easing, of which Yellen is a much bigger proponent than Summers."
Steve Ricchiuto, MZUHO Securities chief economist, and Bob Michele asset management global CIO with JP Morgan (JPM), joined BloomberTV's 'Bloomberg GO' to discuss the economy and the Fed raising rates.