WASHINGTON—Faced with stubbornly high levels of employment and intent on engineering the hardest landing possible for ordinary Americans, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell called Thursday for more poverty. “It’s essential that we use every lever at our disposal to protect the status quo, and this includes raising the poverty rate,” said Powell, asserting that he would not hesitate to increase poverty to whatever level was necessary to relegate average citizens to lives of financial destitution and misery. “We must do everything in our power to ensure that people cannot afford to buy a home or a car. Should we fail to act, we run the very real risk that Americans at the bottom of the economic ladder will start to get ahead at the expense of those at the top. This is an outcome we are keen to avoid.” At press time, Powell issued what he described as the bleakest economic assessment of his tenure at the Fed, indicating that job growth was likely to continue through much of 2023.