I’ve been talking a lot about Taylor and his eponymous rule lately. I’ve made a point of saying all along that I think Yellen gets renominated for Fed Chair, but those arguments all basically apply to Powell also. I’ve been looking at FOMC voting patterns to see if Powell is even a hair more hawkish or dovish than Yellen, and I found something interesting. No Fed Governor has dissented since the June 2012 meeting (Powell’s first).
It’s not just that Powell doesn’t dissent, but not one of them has: Brainard, Duke, Fischer, Powell, Raskin, Stein, and Tarullo (kind of obviously, the Chairs haven’t dissented either). Over 43 meetings, not one step out of place. Nobody had a different view on inflation expectations, or GDP growth. With 172 combined votes cast, nobody even wanted to use slightly different language to communicate forward guidance.
They love being able to say:
The Board of Governors voted unanimously […]
The regional bank presidents who get to vote are a slightly different story:
- 7 of 16 regional presidents voted with the majority
- 5 of 16 were more hawkish
- 2 of 16 were more dovish
- 2 of 16 were more hawkish once and more dovish once.
I always remembered that people were dissenting and calling for more or less accommodation in Fed policy, but I would never have guessed that the Board of Governors were in lock step.
It’s amateur to change my pick so late. I know that the rumors are out there that it will definitely be Powell, but I’d like to change from Yellen to Powell … all of the reasons Trump would pick Yellen are still there, except he can say that he has made huge changes because nobody knows. As I get ready to publish this, there is a White House briefing popping up on Bloomberg … it’s either about Manafort or the Fed Chair (maybe both, that would be fun!). We’ll see.