Reuters blog archive
By Rob Cox
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.
Lael Brainard isn’t the only Federal Reserve no-brainer. As Undersecretary of the Treasury for International Affairs, she has acquitted herself nobly helping the world understand Washington’s profligate and quixotic ways. The Senate would be as daft to block her potential nomination to the Fed board of governors as it would Janet Yellen’s to the chairmanship. Filling other central banking vacancies quickly is the president’s other obvious task.
Brainard’s departure from Treasury positions her neatly for a Fed in need of new blood. The seven-member group is already short-handed by one. It will lose two more when Ben Bernanke leaves in January and Sarah Bloom Raskin becomes deputy to Treasury Secretary Jack Lew.
Having served as a representative to U.S. trading partners, financial counterparties and, perhaps most importantly, creditors since 2010, Brainard would bring much-needed expertise and perspective to the Fed. The current lineup of governors is decidedly more provincial.
The flurry of activity about a G7 currency statement yesterday can now be put in perspective. It will almost certainly happen but it’s very much going through the motions.
We’ve been saying for a while that having urged it to reflate its economy for some time, Japan’s partners could hardly complain now that it is. Lael Brainard of the U.S. Treasury basically let that cat out of the bag last night, warning against competitive devaluations but saying that Washington supported Tokyo’s efforts to reinvigorate growth and end deflation.