Janet Yellen Meets the Right

Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen (public domain via Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve)
Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen (public domain via Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve)

In my weekly Forbes.com column today, I described the presentations made at a meeting led by American Principles in Action with Federal Reserve Board Chair Janet Yellen and Governor Lael Brainard last Friday.  To read the full column, click here.

An excerpt:

Janet Yellen, meeting with 21 members of the center right, in Washington … may actually have made some real history. While this story was reported by the AP (as carried, among many publications, by the New York Times, ABC, Fox Business, and Salon.com), the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, CNN, the Washington Examiner, and theDaily Signal, among others, there is more to report.

On February 27th, at the Fed headquarters at the corner of 20th and Constitution, the Chair of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, Dr. Janet Yellen, and Governor Lael Brainard, met with a delegation of 21 center right figures. The delegation included some of the most influential free market thought leaders from the monetary and financial policy arena. A dozen attendees made thoughtful statements. The rest, myself included, were present as observers.

[…]

The delegation was assembled and led by the Hon. Steve Lonegan, monetary policy director of American Principles in Action. It included four other representatives from APIA: its chairman, Sean Fieler; APIA director and board secretary Ellen Barrosse; Dr. Marc Miles, an APIA consultant; and myself, APIA’s senior economic advisor.

Among the thought leaders were Cato Institute president (and former BB&T CEO) John Allison; economic historian Prof. Brian Domitrovic; Heritage Foundation economist Dr. Norbert Michel; and Atlas Network’s Dr. Judy Shelton.

Lonegan’s, and the delegation’s, core theme: liberals do not have a monopoly on caring about middle and low-income wage earners. This theme represents an authentic, and welcome, shift in the right’s discourse.  It represents a shift away from (although not inconsistent with) a utilitarian theme to a humanitarian one.

The right, with its signature championship of capitalism, has given an impression (assisted by a left-leaning academe and media) that it is committed to privileging creditors over debtors, capital over labor, and Ebenezer Scrooge over Bob Cratchit and Tiny Tim. Not so. Capitalism, properly constructed, is what causes workers to thrive.  To recall President Kennedy’s immortal phrase: “a rising tide lifts all boats.”

A new, unified, message by the right, at the Fed, was unmuffled: a free market strongly benefits workers. This message to Yellen may prove a watershed shift by the right. Could prove historic.

To read the full column, click here.

Ralph Benko, internationally published weekly columnist, co-author of The 21st Century Gold Standard, lead co-editor of the Gerald Malsbary translation from Latin to English of Copernicus’s Essay on Money, is American Principles in Action’s Senior Advisor, Economics.