Conservatives Demand Equal Treatment From The Fed

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Rachel Stoltzfoos Staff Reporter
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Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen recently met with a group of liberal activists behind closed doors to discuss monetary policy. Now conservatives want a meeting of their own.

“It’s commendable that the Fed is concerned about how its policy decisions affect job creation,” said a letter signed by more than a dozen conservative groups and delivered to Yellen’s office Tuesday. “That said, there is a perception that the Chair has been speaking and listening primarily, and perhaps exclusively, to left-of-center groups.”

The letter added. “The left by no means has a monopoly on concern for unemployment and wage stagnation.”

In November, Yellen met with a coalition of community organizers and labor unions organized by The Center for Popular Democracy — a progressive organization that describes itself as pro-worker, pro-immigrant and pro-racial and economic justice.

The coalition is dissatisfied with the economy and worried the Fed will raise interest rates too soon, and wants to make sure the Fed hears the concerns of the working class before making policy decisions. (RELATED: Liberal Groups Take On The Fed)

Yellen’s meeting with the coalition angered conservative groups, especially because the press was shut out of the meeting and no transcript made available. Steve Lonegan, director of monetary policy for American Principles In Action, sent an initial letter to Yellen on behalf of APIA asking for a similar meeting with conservatives, but was met with no response.

The follow-up letter includes more signatures from conservative groups, such as Americans for Tax Reform, the Jack Kemp Foundation, the Ethics and Public Policy Center and the Lehrman Institute.

“Up until recently people thought of the Fed as one of the few non politicized operations in Washington D.C.” said Grover Norquist, president of ATR, at a press conference in front of the Fed Tuesday. “That’s changed, as Janet Yellen’s been having secret meetings with lobbyists.”

Norquist and Lonegan, who was also at the press conference, called on the Fed to hear input from all sides — out in the open — and reiterated their support for an audit the Fed bill that’s been stalled in the Senate.

“I’m of the opinion that [the Fed members] don’t know how to end these artificially low interest rates,” Lonegan said.

Since the 2008 recession, the Fed has kept interest rates low by an unprecedented policy dubbed quantitative easing, but is expected to raise them again soon. Critics are worried the transition to higher interest rates could shock the economy and cause some kind of downturn.

“You ask us to trust in your judgment, but you only meet with left wing groups,” Lonegan said. “A question that should be on every American’s mind is, what is your contingency plan if you are wrong?”

Yellen has stated opposition to the audit the Fed bill, saying it would place improper political pressure on the Fed. It has a decent chance of passing in next year’s Republican-controlled Congress. (RELATED: Fed To Review Its Own Oversight Of Big Banks)

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