Saturday, May 19, 2012

Republicans Allow Vote and Vote For Federal Reserve Board Nominees

GOP to be Commended for Putting the Economy Above Partisan Politics, This Time

The current state of the Republican party, particularly those in the Senate has been to oppose just about everything.  Even when votes are taken on policies they approve of, in a large number of instances Republicans have refused to vote approval, or even allow a vote because they didn’t want to provide any support for the Obama Administration. 

So some Republicans, enough to allow a vote, should be recognized and praised for the fact that two Obama nominees to the Federal Reserve Board were approved.

The Harvard economist Jeremy Stein and the investment banker and lawyer Jerome Powell were confirmed easily after a morning of debate. The vote for Mr. Stein was 70-24, and for Mr. Powell, 74-21.

For months, Senator David Vitter, a Republican of Louisiana and a member of the Banking Committee, had been holding up the nominations, saying the two men would be “rubber stamps” for the policies of the Fed chairman, Ben S. Bernanke, and, by implication, the Obama administration.

The total lack of rationale thought on the part of those opposed to the nominees for fear they would be “rubber stamps” ignores the reality that Mr. Bernanke was an economic adviser to George W. Bush and was appointed Chairman of the Fed by Mr. Bush.  Of course there were some factors affecting the vote.

But in the aftermath of JPMorgan Chase’s recently acknowledged trading losses, which have raised questions about whether the Fed and other regulatory agencies have a tight enough hand on the regulatory reins, Senate leaders found that there were enough votes to get around procedural obstructions under the Senate’s rules.

And the main opponent of the nominees, Senator Vitter (R, La) did take the opportunity to demonstrate his total ignorance of economics and economic policy.

Opening the debate on the Senate floor, Mr. Vitter said that he was the one who “demanded this debate and these votes” rather than confirming the nominees without a roll-call vote, as has often occurred when the Senate has filled vacancies in recent years. “This is the proper way for the Senate to do its business,” he said.

He made clear that he opposed the candidates, and that he opposes the Fed’s monetary policy of low interest rates. “This Federal Reserve has set essentially a zero interest rate policy, an extremely easy policy for an extended period of time,” he said, calling it a “very dangerous policy.”

Here in the real world the easy monetary policy has helped substantially in avoiding the Bush Great Recession from turning into the Bush Great Depression, and the inflation that idiots like Senator Vitter has feared has never materialized.  But the positive thing about the comments of Senator Vitter is that they show just how ignorant and stupid many Conservatives are about  economics. 

Thanks for clearing that up for us Senator, and in return we’ll give you a bit of good advice.  Don’t read the history books when they write about you and monetary policy.  They won’t make you very happy.

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