Over at Naked Capitalism, Matt Stoller asks “Why Does the Dallas Fed President Want to Destroy West Coast Port Unions?” (boldface mine):
It really is clear what is driving the elites. Disinflation is a wonky term meaning reducing the rate at which costs go up. And in this context, when he thinks no one is paying attention, Fisher is clear about whose ox will be gored, and who is driving the conversations.
So while some port workers might not like the tactics of the Occupiers and might think the structural critiques by the occupiers about the banking system are a bit abstract, perhaps the link is more direct than they assume. It is, after all, the President of the Dallas Federal Reserve who is bragging about his region’s work to undermine West Coast port worker bargaining leverage. Otherwise, his CEO friends might not be able to exploit China fast enough.
Two explanations. First, as I’ve noted before the Dallas Fed President believes in creationist economics. If we assume he’s not stupid, then, at best, he is willfully ignorant. Or maybe he’s just an asshole.
Which brings me to point number two: the Fed is riddled with conservative ideologues.
This is endemic to the institution. Here’s one example of what I mean–Jason Barker, a NY Fed employee, who left public, online comments about the OWS protests:
This is the first of 69 comments on the article:
Yes, this is the name of a real New York Fed employee. I’ve called the New York Fed and there is a Jason Barker working there. It seems unlikely that a third party would make use of the name and Facebook profile (the NY Post comment links to Facebook) of a junior Fed staffer.
It gets worse:
Note that Barker went to a third tier business school yet managed to land a job at the New York Fed when unemployment among recent graduates is at record highs. And that is curious. While the image of the Fed is that of a bastion of white male privilege, that is more true of the Board of Governors than the New York Fed….
He can’t even spell “hippie” correctly. He’s presumably a libertarian (the anti-immigration and “53%” identifiers are tells). Libertarians profess to be against the coercive use of state power, yet Barker eagerly advocates inflicting severe injuries onto protestors with no due process. So he looks to be an authoritarian and a hypocrite.
But let’s go further. His job as a bank examiner means that he is tasked with gathering information, making interpretations, and enforcing laws and regulations. Yet his remarks and his Facebook page reveal he’s not at all well suited to that sort of task. The “We are the 53%” is propaganda meant to suggest that the Occupiers are unemployed non-taxpayers, when unemployment rates among the protestors are lower than among Tea Partiers.
The interesting question is why a new employee like Barker would make a provocative remark in a public place in his own name. Possibility one is that simply he has terrible judgment and is foolishly putting his career at risk. His comment appears to run afoul of the New York Fed Code of Conduct…
Possibility two is that he judged correctly that his bloodthirsty views were widely shared at the New York Fed and there would be no negative repercussions. I suspect the latter….
Jason, who is dumb enough to identify himself as one of a 53%, is in fact a willing tool of the 1%, to be discarded when he is no longer of any use to them. In some ways, these foot soldiers of corruption are more contemptible than the higher ups, for they’ve sold what little integrity they ever had for for promises and crumbs.
The cited post discusses the effects of ideology on effective bank regulation, but the key thing is that the Fed is a politically conservative institution. It, despite constant repetition to the contrary, is not non-ideological (as Fisher’s comments demonstrate). Unfortunately, the Fed has enormous economic effects, both in terms of setting interest rates–how much borrowing money costs–as well as bank regulation. It’s time the Fed is treated as such.
We are governed by fools.
*This assumes that the Obama administration doesn’t agree with them on key issues. A debatable point.