According to Goldman Sachs Group Senior Chairman Lloyd Blankfein, there is a “very, very high-risk factor” that the United States is heading for a recession. Mr. Blankfein gave this stark warning on May 15, 2022, during an interview on CBS News’ Face the Nation.’
In a note to Goldman clients released on May 15, Goldman cut its 2022 U.S. growth outlook to 2.4% from 2.6% previously and 1.6% from 2.2% for 2023, noting fears over an uncertain growth path and constricting financial conditions.
Blankfein added that the Fed has no choice but to keep raising interest rates to slow down consumer demand. “And that’s going to involve some pain,” he said. While noting that some inflationary factors — such as the war in Ukraine and supply-chain crunches — are transitory and will eventually go away, until then, “it’s going to be quite difficult and oppressive” for lower-income people as prices rise.
Blankfein said that while inflation is being stoked by extra fiscal spending prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic, he doesn’t necessarily blame the government for doing all it could to prevent another financial meltdown. Last week, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell admitted that the central bank was too slow to start raising interest rates to fight inflation.
“They reacted and I think they reacted sensibly with what they knew at the time,” Blankfein said. “And you can argue about that, but that’s all with the benefit of hindsight.”