The Republican Senate still seems quite determined to install any crackpot, no matter how unqualified or damaging, to any position Trump’s team of catastrophic screw-ups can think of. On Tuesday the Senate Banking Committee voted on party lines to advance the nomination of Judy Shelton as Trump-desired addition to the Federal Reserve Board. Shelton is a crackpot, pure and simple. She is a crackpot that puts Trump’s other crackpots to shame. Even Republicans were extremely dubious about her nomination, until as usual Something Happened and the children of the Senate decided to just do whatever the orange gasbag’s team wanted.
How bad is Shelton as a pick? Bad enough to inspire “God Help Us” headlines and theories that Trump is choosing her because he knows he is going to lose reelection and is “salting the earth behind him.” That bad.
Judy Shelton’s economic expertise has consisted, in part, of a long-standing demand that the United States return to the gold standard, a Ron Paulian notion considered both unworkable and actively dangerous by every non-kook economist in the world. She objects to the notion that the Fed even exists. She has been an opponent of the Fed stimulating the economy even during world-shaking crises, during a period of time when world-shaking crises seem to be cropping up with some regularity; she also objects to federal deposit insurance, the thing that props individual U.S. households up when a world-shaking crisis causes banks to collapse.
And she evolved from some of these positions the moment senators started asking about them, one of the surest signs that somebody is lying their behind off to get through confirmation hearings a la the “I like beer” guy.
The position that is most concerning right now, however, is Shelton’s theory that the Federal Reserve needs mostly to be less independent. It should “pursue a more coordinated relationship” with the president, she now says. It should consult with Congress more often.
Whatever you might think of the Federal Reserve, there is no surer way to both kill it dead and send the nation into economic chaos than to have the Fed “coordinate” policy according to what elected officials are demanding in the run-ups to their own reelection campaigns. Basing the value of the dollar on gold, Beanie Babies, or potatoes would all be less disastrous than that.
As of this moment, Sen. Mitt Romney is the only Republican who has publicly said that he would be voting against Shelton. The nomination would fail with four such Republican defections, which means it would require three other Republicans to not do the Obviously Corrupt thing. It seems a tall order—which itself is still astonishing. It seems the more radical, unhinged, corrupt, ignorant and down-in-the-polls Trump becomes, the more tightly the party clings to him.
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