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MONETARY POLICIES


more representative of the American public. Te FOMC is composed of the president of the New York Fed, four other Federal Reserve Bank presidents, and the Federal Reserve Board, which currently has only four members (three positions are vacant). Tat means the FOMC is majority-controlled by heads of Federal Reserve Banks, all of whom must have “tested banker experience.” As Vinik quoted Levin:


"Te Federal Reserve is a crucial public agency, so there are lots of important questions—including the selection of its leaders, the determination of their priorities, specific


and the strategy that


they’re following—that should all be open to public discourse."


Vinik also cited Ady Barkan, the head of the Fed Up campaign, who agreed that questioning Fed policy was appropriate, even for the president. Barkan said the Fed’s independence comes from its structure: its leaders are appointed, not elected, for long terms, which inherently


insulates


them from political pressure. But the Fed must still be accountable to the public, and one way policymakers fulfill that responsibility is through public comments. Monetary policy decisions, said Barkan, are therefore


at Nova Southeastern University,


the Fed is not a neutral arbiter. It might be independent of oversight by politicians, but Fed “independence” has really come to mean a central bank that has been captured by very large banking interests. Tis has not always been the case. During the period coming out of the Great Depression, the Fed as a practical matter was not independent but took its marching orders from the White House and the Treasury; and that period, says Canova, was the most successful in American economic history.


The Fed’s justification for raising


appropriate topics debate.


Reassessing Fed Independence


According to Timothy Canova, Professor of Law and Public Finance


for political


FX


interest rates despite admittedly low inflation is that we are nearing “full employment,” which will drive up prices because labor costs will go up. But wages have not gone up. Why? Because in a globalized world, the availability of cheap labor abroad keeps American wages low even if most people are working (which is questionable today despite o f f i cia l statistics).


H i g h e r interest rates do not serve consumers, homebuyers, businesses or governments. They serve


the banks that dominate the policy- setting FOMC. The president’s critiques of the Fed, however controversial, have opened the door to a much-needed discourse on whether the fate of the economy should be in the hands of unelected bureaucrats marching to the drums of Wall Street.


Ellen Brown


President of the Public Banking Institute Author of:


Web of Debt and


Te Public Bank Solution


FX TRADER MAGAZINE January - March 2019 45


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