The United States recently received some welcome economic news. While the latest jobs report was solid and gross domestic product growth was stronger than expected, even more encouraging is President Trump’s nomination of Jerome “Jay” Powell to serve as the next chairman of the Federal Reserve. He is the right person at the right time to guide our monetary policy and ensure the soundness of our financial institutions.
In a speech last March in West Virginia, Jay noted, “In my experience, the best outcomes are reached when opposing viewpoints are clearly and strongly presented before decisions are made.” We saw this approach in action during Jay’s two years as a visiting scholar at the Bipartisan Policy Center. On a wide variety of initiatives, Jay demonstrated unique talent for encouraging diverse viewpoints and finding realistic common ground to build a pragmatic consensus.
Jay Powell is the right person at the right time to guide our monetary policy and ensure the soundness of our financial institutions.
The Federal Reserve is guided by some of the smartest economists in the world, but we must always remember that economics is ultimately a social science. While driven by empirical data, Fed policy is determined by informed opinions. Jay has an historical appreciation for the role of the Fed chairman in synthesizing opinions and has noted publicly that the Federal Reserve’s unique structure “was forged from compromise. The result of that compromise was a vitally needed central bank whose decisions take into account a broad range of perspectives.”
Jay is a prodigious gatherer and consumer of information. He was rarely seen around our office, or around town, without a large binder of materials under his arm, and he was always eager to learn from those around him. While consumed by his work, Jay was never too busy for a conversation and always accessible to the exceptionally talented junior staff of the Bipartisan Policy Center.