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To the bureaucrats defying Trump: You’ve got it all wrong

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President Trump has been destabilizing U.S. politics, and the country’s position in international affairs, since he took office.

For the unelected but conscientious officials who serve under, and owe their legal duties to, the office of the president, the dilemma from Day One has been: What’s a bureaucrat to do?

Bill Dudley, who until last year was president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, provided one sort of answer in an Aug. 27 opinion article for Bloomberg Opinion: He urged the Fed to defy Trump openly and hasten his political downfall.

Trump’s tariffs on China (and others) threaten economic growth, but to counteract that by easing monetary policy, as the Fed has done, only enables the president to pursue his trade war, Dudley argued.

Therefore, the central bank must refuse to ease; if it reduces job, income and investment prospects for Americans, Trump, not the Fed, “will own the consequences of his actions.” Not only was Dudley untroubled by the use of Fed power to undercut the president in an election year, but also he declared doing so consistent with the Fed’s legal mandate.

“If the goal of monetary policy is to achieve the best long-term economic outcome,” he wrote, “then Fed officials should consider how their decisions will affect the political outcome in 2020.” Apparently, the Fed must destroy the U.S. economy — and its own political impartiality — to save them.


© Washington Post