Recess Appointments for the Fed?

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One journalist who doesn’t underrate the importance of Federal Reserve decision-making is Neil Irwin who reports today on how the prospect of additional monetary stimulus is “likely to be the focus of a vigorous debate at a Fed policy meeting next week, setting the stage for a definitive decision in November or December on whether to purchase hundreds of billions of dollars of bonds in an effort to strengthen the economy.”

But who will attend the meeting? As Robin Harding reviews, not Barack Obama’s appointees whose presence would be valuable. On the one hand, their votes would count and “more important than their votes is having their voices at the FOMC to counterbalance more hawkish regional Fed presidents.” This is especially important since Donald Kohn—who, as she observes, is one of the few actual monetary policy specialists on the board—has already stepped down.

Brad DeLong suggests it’s time for recess appointments. If so, I’d like to throw my own hat in the ring, since I think tapping some random blogger is likely to raise short-term inflation expectations and currency depreciation all on its own. Realistically, I think it’s hard to imagine the White House going from zero to sixty on this topic. The other day Tim Fernholz got a quote about the section 13(3) nightmare scenario from Treasury spokeman Steve Adamske that was by far the strongest statement I’ve heard from the administration about the obstructionism that’s leaving the national economy in shambles. Ready for the quote? Here goes:

“All the more reason why the Senate should approve the president’s nominees,” Treasury spokesman Steve Adamske says.


So while there’s something to be said for DeLong’s proposal, at this point I’d settle for “mild but consistent political pressure” as a huge step forward.