Yesterday Stanley Fischer submitted his letter of resignation from the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors, effective next month, the second such resignation of Donald Trump’s presidency. While Fischer’s term as Vice Chairman of the Fed was set to end next year, he had the ability to serve as a governor through 2020. Along with Trump’s decision next year on whether to replace Janet Yellen as the Fed’s chair, this means Trumps will have the opportunity to appoint five of seven governors to America’s central bank.
Given that the position holds a 14-year term, it is unusual for a president to have the opportunity to make so many appointments.
As Diane Swonk of DS Economics noted, “It’s the largest potential regime change in the leadership of the Fed since 1936.”
Of course the question is now whether a change in personnel will lead to a change in policy.
In 2016, Goodfriend made an impassioned plea for the Fed to consider negative-interest rates:
The zero interest bound is an encumbrance on monetary policy to be removed, much as the gold standard and the fixed foreign exchange rate encumbrances were removed, to free the price level from the destabilizing influence of a relative price over which monetary policy has little control—in this case, so movements in the intertemporal terms of trade can be reflected fully in interest rate policy to stabilize employment and inflation over the business cycle.
Given his radical views on monetary policy, it’s not hyperbole to suggest that Goodfriend’s nomination would represent a genuine danger to the economic wellbeing of every American citizen – or at least those outside of the financial services industry.
Given the historic opportunity he has with the Fed, if Trump chooses to return to those roots, he could do severe damage to the swamp — all without passing a single piece of legislation through Congress.