Sunday, March 5, 2017

WSJ Article on Trump's Fed Vacancies

Given the importance of monetary policy, I've been waiting for signs about who Trump will appoint to the Fed. The media gave Obama's Fed picks very little attention. In Geithner's bio, which was largely about Obama administration economic policy, he didn't even mention Obama's Fed choices. He didn't consider them important. In my view, however, the Fed is crucial in getting the US economy back to normal growth. Will Trump pick hard or soft money types? It's anybody's guess. The WSJ has some details, although they leave out the views on monetary policy of those on the short list.

In any case, here are some key grafs for those that can't get behind the WSJ's paywall:

President Donald Trump will be able to recast the Federal Reserve by filling three or more vacancies on its seven-member board of governors, and is leaning toward candidates with banking and financial world experience rather than academic economists.
       After his campaign criticism of the central bank’s low-interest-rate policies, many observers speculated he would seek more “hawkish” candidates who would favor higher borrowing costs. But his choices may be driven less by these issues and more by their practical experience, judging from his early picks for other top economic policy posts in the administration—drawn from investment banking, private equity and business—and the pool of early contenders for the Fed jobs.
...

      David Nason, an executive at General Electric Co.’s financing arm and former Treasury Department official during the 2008 financial crisis, emerged as a leading candidate ...  Other potential candidates the administration has considered include former BB&T Corp. Chief Executive John Allison, and Rep. French Hill (R., Ark.), a former banker just re-elected to his second House term, these people said. 
...
        Mr. Trump’s views on monetary policy are unclear—he both praised and criticized the Fed’s low-rate policies during the campaign. He also promised to roughly double the pace of annual economic growth to 4%, which would be harder if the central bank boosts interest rates more aggressively to restrain inflation.
        “There’s no reason to think Trump would go for one of these really predictable, hawkish academics who’s schooled in balancing inflation,” said Sarah Binder, a political-science professor at George Washington University who has studied the Fed’s relationship with Congress. “He seems to want people, as best we can tell, with a background in finance or a background in business that brings some sort of real world—from Trump’s perspective—appreciation for the good stuff that low rates can do,” she said.
         The seven-member Fed board has two vacancies and will have a third in April when governor Daniel Tarullo steps down in April.

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