Inflation is a legitimate concern of all Americans, and the Biden administration has been doing everything it can to bring it down.
The inflation stems from the pandemic, which has messed up supply chains and unleashed strong consumer spending that had been pent up during the previous few years. It’s also been fueled by the record high jobs figures that Republicans don’t want to talk about.
Although the Biden administration has a long-term plan to control inflation by increasing competition, that won’t help right now.
Enter the Fed. The Federal Reserve Bank is in a position to reduce inflation by increasing interest rates. The President renominated the Chair of the Board of Governors, Jerome H. Powell, who has bipartisan support.
He also nominated Sarah Bloom Raskin as Vice Chair for Supervision, a position in which she would be in charge of the Fed’s regulatory agenda.
Raskin served on the Fed’s Board of Governors from 2010 to 2014, and as Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Department from 2014 to 2017, working on cybersecurity. Previously, she was Maryland’s Commissioner of Financial Regulation.
She is the wife of Rep Jamie Raskin, who led the impeachment trial against Trump following the Insurrection and is a prominent member of the January 6 Committee investigating the Insurrection.
Far be it for me to suggest that the uniform opposition to Sarah Bloom Raskin among the not-so-loyal Republicans on the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee is in any way a vendetta against him…
Publicly, the Republicans are basing their opposition on an OpEd that nominee Raskin wrote in The New York Times in 2020, in which she stated that money from the CARES Act shouldn’t be given to struggling fossil fuel companies.
Oh, my! After years of the government’s bailing out those who are destroying our environment, someone was brave enough to say it’s time to reverse the trend.
Away with her, say the climate change deniers–though in her hearing before this committee, she emphasized that the allocation of taxpayer money for pandemic relief that she was discussing in the OpEd was different from the Fed’s regulatory work, and she wouldn’t make the same argument if appointed to the Fed supervisory position.
“I know the law,” she said.
Yet many believe that the Fed should be paying attention to climate change. Senator Jon Tester of Montana, no radical, for sure, said he felt it was “critically important that the Fed gets all the information that they can when they’re dealing with risk to our financial system. And I think that it is rather obvious that climate change has to be part of the information that you gather.”
The other nominee who’s been receiving rough treatment is Lisa Cook, who has a PhD in economics from the University of California, Berkeley, where she specialized in macroeconomics and international economics. President Biden nominated her to be a Member of the Board of Governors.
Cook said she’s spent decades teaching and researching economic growth and monetary policy. She had been appointed to the Chicago Fed shortly before being nominated to this position.
But Senator Pat Toomey, the highest ranking Republican on the Senate Committee, said she “lacked the background in macroeconomics needed to join the Fed Board.”
If confirmed, Lisa Cook would be the first Black woman to serve on the Fed. Her research has included the benefits of equitability and the ways that reductions in disparities based on race and gender can enhance overall economic growth.
Senate Committee Chair Sherrod Brown described the attacks on Cook’s record as “abhorrent.“
So there you have it, folks. I’m not sure how the Democrats get those nominations out of the Senate Committee. But it is expected that if/when they do, these two candidates will be confirmed, possibly by a 50-50 vote.
Two women, both highly qualified, one dedicated to economic solutions to race/gender inequities, the other deeply concerned about climate change. Both seeking ways to improve the economy.
The Fed needs to be at full strength now in the fight against inflation.
And what do the Republicans do–aside from blaming President Biden?
You see the empty chairs.
The quotations above appeared in Roll Call.
UPDATE: The Department of Justice is investigating possible anti-trust activities on the part of companies that “exploit supply chain disruptions to overcharge consumers and collude with competitors,” reports The Hill.
“The effort comes as pandemic-driven supply chain congestion continues to drive up the cost of transporting and producing goods. The Biden administration has scrutinized oil producers, ocean carriers, meat processing companies and other industries for raising prices amid surging inflation.”