Federal Reserve, Powell, Rachel Siegel discussed on Marketplace with Kai Ryssdal
Wednesday today, this one is the 20th of October that is always to have you along. Everybody. You know, the politics of this economy can be messy, and we know that because politics. But we lead it today with a story in that messy orbit because it could have some big ripple effects. Last month, rob Kaplan, the president of the Federal Reserve bank of Dallas, and Eric Rosen during the president of the Boston fed resigned. After disclosures about security's trading, they did last year raised questions about ethics at the Central Bank. Since then, the fed has announced an independent review of trading by fed officials, but this week, fed chair Jay Powell's own financial disclosures have raised some more eyebrows. Rachel Siegel covers the fed she has been on this story for The Washington Post. Racial thanks for coming on. Thank you so much for having me. What have we learned then about chair Powell's disclosure forms? So chair Powell's disclosure forms are distinct from what we know about Robert caplan and Eric Rosen Graham. But nevertheless, you know, it is worth looking at the transactions that he made last year. For example, we know that he had 26 transactions on his disclosure form last year, 19 or four automatic dividend reinvestments, basically transactions, put on autopilot. He had 6 withdrawals, which the fed has told us were for family expenses. And for example, one of them was quite large on October 1st. He had a sale of a Vanguard stock market index fund that was valued between 1 million 5 $1 million. Does it matter and how relevant is it that he was selling into a falling market? It's a question that we're thinking about too. On the one hand you should say it shouldn't matter whether or not someone ends up making or losing money and unless they're fortune tellers. They don't necessarily know which way the market is going to go. At the same time, if anyone has a pulse on what's happening deep within the financial system, it's the fed chair. And so in some ways, we have to try to answer these questions independent of what was actually happening in the market and thinking about the kind of information that the person actually held at the time that they were making it. These trades for all three men were in accordance we are told with Federal Reserve ethics guidelines, yes. That's right. And one important place where it's also important to distinguish Powell's financial history from Kaplan and Rosenberg is that there is this ongoing inspector general investigation into whether Kaplan and Rosenberg's conduct complied with the fed ethics rules and the law. So I tend to think of it as sort of two layers. There is a question of whether certain behavior violated fed ethics rules in the law. And then this question of, okay, well, here's what lots of other people were doing. And does this tell us anything about the way the rules should be improved moving forward? So in his last press conference that Chappell did after their most recent meeting, the chairman was asked about Rosenberg and Kaplan, and he said, in essence, we're all really disappointed. And nobody wants the Federal Reserve to be in this position. How do you think all of this then plays into the conversations that are being had about your pals renomination, which The White House has to decide on reasonably soon he's up in February? Sure. So as far as I can tell, these debates about fed stock trading scandals, these ethics rules have not shifted the calculus in terms of whether or not The White House is going to renominate Powell or not. However, I think what is related is that these questions have really complicated the feds public trust. So I tend to think about it as less, whether this will completely change the game about Powell's chances at a second term and more the fed's broader public perception at a time where it really needs the confidence of the American people. I was talking to Mary Daly, the San Francisco fed two weeks ago, and she said trust is all we've got. That's the whole deal. It is. And, you know, it's worth remembering that we're in this moment where people are feeling higher prices and some people have not yet been able to get back into jobs. And now they're dealing with this additional layer of ethics, and that really just complicates this, you know, the mission, really, that they have set out to do. Let me ask you to and this might not be fair, but I'm going to try it anyway. Put on your I'm a reporter in Washington, D.C., so I'm attuned to politics and ask you about the politics of the chairs, potential renomination, because a little bit of Warren on the Senate banking committee has already come out in opposition to chair Powell. She wants more regulation of banks than he has been willing to do. There is a progressive caucus in the House, which of course does not get a vote on his renomination, but they are vocal nonetheless about wanting the fed to do more on climate change. What's the or is there a political calculation that you are aware of in The White House? So we have had quite a bit of difficulty getting a pulse on where The White House is. You know, our sense is that cheer Powell is very well liked, but as you know, the opposition to him that comes from certain parts of the left has to do with moves, the fed has taken to ease banking regulation, people who wish the fed would crack down harder on climate. I will say though, that that is not a universal rallying cry from Democrats, there is this sort of political backdrop and it gets complicated because the fed tries very hard to stay out of that spotlight, but they also exist in Washington. They do indeed Rachel Siegel, she covers the Federal Reserve and the American economy from The Washington Post. I should say here just before we wrap up. Chair Powell, as I'm sure from every media organization on the planet, here Paul has a standing invitation to come on this program to talk. Rachel, thanks a lot. Appreciate your time. Thank you so much. Wall Street today, getting near some.