Monday, January 2, 2012

Mr. Obama To Try Again to Get Appointees Confirmed to Federal Reserve Board – Senate Previously Blocked Nobel Prizing Winning Economist

President Gets A for Effort – Probably an F on Results

Earlier in 2011 the President of the United States nominated a gentleman by the name of Peter Diamond to a seat on the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. Mr. Diamond, in addition to being an outstanding and accomplished economist had also been awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics.  To Senator Richard Shelby, Republican of Alabama Mr. Diamond was unqualified and so using the idiotic and arcane and out-of-date rules of the Senate Mr. Shelby was able to block a vote on Mr. Diamond’s appointment.  Mr. Diamond consequently withdrew giving the National Association of Ignoramus’s a victory in their quest to impose ignorance on the nation.

Now Mr. Obama is trying a different tact in attempting to win Senate confirmation of Fed nominees.  He has nominated two individuals to the Board, one a Democrat and the other a Republican.

The nominees are Jeremy Stein, 51 years old, a Ph.D. economist who did a five-month stint in the Treasury and White House early in the Obama administration, and Jerome Powell, 58, who was undersecretary of the Treasury for domestic finance under President George H.W. Bush.

The strategy has several aspects.  Part of the hope is that by nominating a Republican and a Democrat the Senate will confirm both in the spirit of compromise  that has been the hallmark of American government until Republicans decided on a different hallmark.

A recent administration attempt to navigate the contentious Senate confirmation process by packaging Republican and Democratic nominees to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. board failed when Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky blocked a vote.

Another part of the strategy is this.  After rejection of Mr. Diamond, who on paper was eminently, even spectacularly qualified for the Board seat, Mr. Obama has nominated someone who on paper does not appear to have any special qualifications.

A graduate of Georgetown University's law school, Mr. Powell worked before and after his Treasury stint at investment bank Dillon Read & Co. He also has worked at private-equity firms Carlyle Group and Global Environment Fund, and at Bankers Trust Co. Known as Jay, Mr. Powell lately has been a visiting scholar at the Bipartisan Policy Center, a Washington think tank, where he took a high-profile role over the summer warning about the adverse consequences of a failure to lift the federal debt ceiling.

The strategy of packaging two candidates who each can appeal to separate groups in the Senate seems destined to fail.  Republicans hope that their party will take over the government in 2013, and want to leave as many vacancies as possible to be filled by Republican candidates.  Besides, to them there is no need to hurry with respect to economic policy,

Sen. David Vitter (R., La.), a Banking Committee member who has been critical of the Fed, said he would "certainly review these nominees' records, but I don't see any need to rush them through confirmation."

because its not like there is any problem with the economy.  Sen. Vitter, a great champion of family values was re-elected after admitting to numerous “incidents” with prostitutes.  That thoroughly qualifies him to pass on the suitability of Fed nominees.

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