Over 30 liberal groups frustrated with the economy have formed a coalition to protest the policies of the Federal Reserve and demand it pay more attention to the needs of workers.
The coalition is led by a progressive organization that describes itself as pro-worker, pro-immigrant and pro-racial and economic justice — The Center for Popular Democracy — and includes labor unions, religious leaders and policy experts. They’re fed up with stagnant wages, high unemployment and slow job growth, and are not happy with the Fed’s recent decision to end its long-term bond buying stimulus program. (RELATED: Feds Finally End Stimulus)
“The truth about the economy is obvious to most of us: not enough jobs, not enough hours, and not enough pay — particularly in communities of color and among young workers,” a statement on the coalition’s website reads.
“Some members of the Federal Reserve think that the economy has recovered. They want to raise interest rates to slow down job growth and prevent wages from rising faster. That’s a terrible idea.”
In open letter to Fed Chair Janet Yellen and two regional presidents who are retiring, the coalition called for policies centered around wage and job growth rather than big banks and corporations, and for a more transparent selection process that allows for public input.
“The Fed is the only policymaking institution currently providing significant support to the economic recovery — efforts Congress has severely damaged by enforcing fiscal austerity — so it’s crucial for it to continue prioritizing the fight against joblessness,” Josh Bivens, research and policy director at the Economic Policy Institute, said in a statement about the letter.
The Fed consists of a central board of seven governors appointed by the president of the United States, and a network of 12 regional banks, each with its own president and nine-member board. The governors and five of the regional presidents come together on the Federal Open Market Committee to set monetary policy, which is then implemented by the regional presidents.
Each regional board consists of three bankers, three members elected by local banks and three members appointed by the board of governors in Washington. The regional boards are supposed to represent diverse views, including labor and consumers, but although a few are labor and community leaders, most of them are corporate executives.
The letter calls for a better representation of workers and consumers on the boards, and regular meetings between the regional boards and community members, and a more transparent process for replacing the regional presidents, including a public schedule, list of criteria, the names of candidates and public forums to discuss the process.
“It’s essential that concerned citizens are informed about and have their voices considered when monetary policy decisions are made,” Bevins added in his statement.
The coalition is scheduled to meet with Fed Chair Janet Yellen Friday to discuss their agenda.
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