SIDING WITH ‘FOREIGN CENTRAL BANKS’…. Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), the outgoing chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, slammed Republicans today for siding with “foreign central banks” in debates over monetary policy.
I suppose that may sound inflammatory to some, but I don’t think it’s especially controversial, either. The Federal Reserve acted to (hopefully) improve the U.S. economy, a move that generated criticism from some international powerhouses, most notably China and Germany. Congressional Republican, perhaps afraid that the Fed’s efforts would succeed and the American economy would benefit, said China and Germany are right, and U.S. officials are wrong.
With this in mind, Frank’s concerns warrant attention.
“What’s striking to me, frankly … you said that Republicans are criticizing [Federal Reserve Chairman] Ben Bernanke. That’s part of it. The Republicans are joining the Central Bank of China in attacking Bernanke. This is really distressing to me,” he told Bloomberg Television’s Margaret Brennan.
Republicans have recently come out against the Fed’s asset-purchase program because they say it will cause a rise in inflation. Among those who have sent letters of opposition to Bernanke are Speaker-designate John Boehner (R-Ohio) and several Reagan-era economic officials.
“[W]hat they’re saying,” Frank said Monday, “is that America as the world’s leader hasn’t got a right to look at our own economic needs and somehow has to defer to everybody else. And I’m appalled by that … One argument is [that] this might lower our currency and that’s unfair to China. But having China complain about currency manipulation is like being called silly by the Three Stooges.”
He added that the “talk radio right wing” would be “shattering the atmosphere” if Democrats took the same position.
Does anyone seriously believe otherwise?
On a related point, David Frum would like to hear what the Fed’s Republican critics would propose as an alternative to QE2. Come to think of it, so would I.