White House Should Fill Open Federal Reserve Board Slots

As part of the celebration slash PR push around the first anniversary of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act there was a roundtable at the White House just a bit earlier this afternoon featuring various progressive bloggers and Jared Bernstein from the economic team. Most of the talk was on ARRA and most of it was stuff you ought to know if you’ve been reading the blog.

I asked Bernstein about something differently, namely that given the importance of monetary policy it seems odd that the Obama administration hasn’t filled either of the vacancies on the Federal Reserve board. The answer I got wasn’t unexpected, but it wasn’t super-enlightening either. He said it was a good question but “it’s one I’d rather not comment on.”

So fair enough. But I’ll comment that we have an independent central bank in the United States, which is as it should be. But we also have a democracy in the United States. And the way that democracy works is that one of the important powers the President has is the ability to appoint members to the Fed board.