Politicizing the Fed
July 12, 2019
One of the misfortunes of the Trump administration is the hollowing out of competent non-partisan public service professionals in government agencies.
This includes economists: Who would want to work in an administration with such obvious disdain for facts and truth?
In monetary policy, Trump has proposed or floated names of candidates that are highly questionable in their financial market experience or who have demonstrated incompetence in prediction or analysis.
His latest nominee for the Fed Board is Judy Shelton, who in the 2016 election berated the Fed for keeping interest rates too low. Now she is berating them for keeping rates too high (despite the fact that unemployment has fallen since 2016 and is at its lowest in decades). She supported free trade and immigration until Trump chose the opposite policies. There is no seeming rhyme or reason to her policy changes except for political kowtowing.
Shelton fits the pattern of other Trump appointments—a questionably competent political junkie who intends to destroy the appointed agency from within.
Trump has appointed a slew of "Acting" Cabinet Secretaries and other department execs who don't need to face public scrutiny in a Senate hearing; these appointments by-pass the constitutional provisions on accountability and transparency, and demonstrate disdain for the checks and balances in our system. Here's hoping Shelton faces fair and forceful questions about the political intrigue she would bring to the Fed.
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