New Helmsman

By Isaac Cohen*

President Donald Trump decided, last week, to replace the incumbent at the Federal Reserve with his own candidate, the current member of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors Jerome Powell, to succeed Chairwoman Janet Yellen as the most powerful world banker. The fact that Mr. Powell has been a member of the Board since 2012, under Chairpersons Ben Bernanke and Janet Yellen, indicates continuity. However, it also indicates a departure, because President Trump did not follow the precedent of the last three Federal Reserve Chairmen, who were confirmed for a second term, despite their belonging to the opposite political party.

Chair Yellen’s succesor will receive an economy growing moderately, with low inflation and almost full employment, of 4.1 percent in October, the lowest in 16 years.

If confirmed by the Senate, the new Chairman Jerome Powell is Republican and veteran from the Treasury Department, where he was undersecretary for finance, under President George H. W. A lawyer with experience in the financial sector, for eight years he worked for the Carlyle Group, one of the major private equity companies. According to The Wall Street Journal, within the executive branch, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is the strongest supporter of the new Federal Reserve Chairman.

*International analyst and consultant. Commentator on economic and financial issues for CNN en Español TV and radio, UNIVISION, TELEMUNDO and other media. Former Director, UNECLAC Washington.

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