Power & Market

Does the Fed Need More Progressives?

The Federal Reserve System will need people to fill the gap left by the retirement of the regional presidents for Dallas and Boston, both stepping down after public disclosure of trading activities. Fed vice chair Richard Clarida is also under scrutiny over several millions of dollars’ worth of trades. The Fed could be hiring, or promoting people, in the not-too-distant future.

If past experience is an indication of future outcomes, then someone who doesn’t ask too many questions, yet has an interest in climate change, could be a good candidate. The name that keeps coming up in news headlines looks to be Fed governor Lael Brainard. CNBC reports:

Federal Reserve Governor Lael Brainard’s increased influence ahead likely means substantial changes and challenges for the nation’s banking system.

Considered a progressive who favors tighter reins on financial institutions, particularly the Wall Street powerhouses …

Progressive. Much like someone calling themselves a liberal, or socialist, a progressive is one of those self-identifiers that can include a long range of beliefs, many or most of them requiring the threat of violence, theft, or coercion.

The article supports the idea of a Federal Reserve looking for such traits. Ed Yardeni from the research firm which bears his name speaks of Brainard as someone who can move up even higher in the ranks at the Fed:

Everybody can see that the Fed has been moving toward a more progressive stance, and it wouldn’t be a big shock to see that she gets more power either as Fed chair or as vice chair for regulation.

Since it’s not enough to set a nation’s monetary policy, the Fed also monitors and directs the entire US banking system. As Yardeni explains:

To the extent that the Fed’s always more focused on monetary policy than regulation, now one of its new mandates from the progressives is to pay more attention to regulating the banks.

All this talk about being progressive, yet no one has explained where these ideas come from nor where they lead. They might sound progressive to voters and the public at large, but very rarely is it explained how this ideology is beneficial.

Here’s an example of this in action. A few days ago Lael Brainard gave a speech on climate change. She noted that:

Current voluntary climate-related disclosures are an important first step in closing data gaps, but they are prone to inconsistent quality and incompleteness. 

Sounds reasonable. Should a financial institution or any other company voluntarily wish to partake in climate-related disclosures or calculations, there’s certainly nothing wrong with this.

But now, let’s see the progressive in action. Notice the key word as she continues:

Consistent, comparable, and, ultimately, mandatory disclosures are likely to be vital to enable market participants to measure, monitor, and manage climate risks on a consistent basis across firms.

Mandatory. This is the tool of the progressive, the socialist, the liberal, and many of those considered to be on the left or right; the state can impose actions which are mandatory, or forced on whomever it pleases.

The affairs at the Fed have yet to be sorted. But one thing is clear. No matter the name of the ideology, it will limit individual freedom and support the collective, operating under the pretense that it is for the greater good, but in reality is beneficial for only those at the top. From the Fed chair on down, this is the way of the state.

Note: The views expressed on Mises.org are not necessarily those of the Mises Institute.
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