Jay Powell, a thoughtless and strong-willed Fed chair

On a beautiful and clear fall day a week ago, US President Joe Biden pardoned two turkeys before the Thanksgiving break and called Jay Powell to offer him a second chance as president. central bank.

“At this point of both great potential and great uncertainty For our economy, we need stability and independence at the Federal Reserve,” Biden said this week.

Biden Nominates Powell for a new four-year term at the helm of the Fed was not an act of benevolence on the part of the president – although it took him weeks to settle the decision.

By choosing a 68-year-old Republican over a Democrat for the position, at a time of intense political polarization in America, Biden has realized Powell’s central bank manager during the pandemic and bet on your ability to tame inflation without undermining the economic recovery. But Biden also commended Powell’s humble and humble style, which has earned the respect and admiration of many White House officials, Fed staff and members of both parties on Capitol Hill.

“He won’t brag about how great he is. David Rubenstein, co-founder of Carlyle, the private equity group where Powell worked from 1997 to 2005, told the Financial Times. “He is an enthusiastic, likable, likable guy. He doesn’t have a PhD in economics, but he does have a PhD in how to get along with people.”

Powell is a Washington student. He was born in the United States capital in 1953 into a wealthy, well-educated Catholic family, one of six children. It’s a high-achieving household. His mother was a mathematician and statistician, and his father was a lawyer representing steel companies in union negotiations. His parents were both the heads of their classes at Bless Sacrament, the same Catholic school Powell attended in northwest Washington. Powell’s grandmother used to pull out an old Sunday newsletter reporting their academic success and stick it under the nose of a future Fed chair to show what was expected.

The family always lived within walking distance of Chevy Chase Circle, a large roundabout on the border of the District of Columbia and Maryland. He still lives in the area today. One of Powell’s passions is playing the guitar; He also likes to play golf. Before he was an avid cyclist – less now. Powell reads at night: his current favorite is Tales of the Saxons, a series of historical novels by Mr. Bernard Cornwell about medieval England.

Powell wasn’t an excellent student from the start – in fact, he was a bit disorganized. However, he still made it to Princeton University, where he studied African politics and Georgetown Law School. He later moved to Wall Street to work for the investment bank Dillon Read under Nicholas Brady, later Ronald Reagan and George HW Bush’s Secretary of the Treasury. In New York Powell met Elissa Leonard, a film producer. The couple married in 1985 and have three children.

Brady vowed not to hire anyone from the bank to serve in government, but made an exception for Powell, who joined the Treasury in 1990 and became minister in charge of domestic finance in 1992. After Bill Clinton took office, Powell went to Carlyle, where he performed industrial and consumer transactions for the US acquisition group.

Public service is his bigger calling. He joined the Bipartisan Policy Center, a think tank where, from a small room, he helped try to defuse the debt ceiling crisis of 2011. push Barack Obama against Republican legislators. Obama picked Powell for Fed governor starting in 2012, and when Donald Trump became president, he got the top job.

During his first term Powell is said to be willing to change the Fed’s mindset after learning hard lessons from the slow recovery of the 2008 financial crisis. “I think of Powell as a really curious person, really Open-minded, always learning, never satisfied with assumptions,” a White House official said.

He also added unusual sympathy for the Fed’s communications. Powell reflected on Americans suffering through the Covid-19 crisis and on the nation’s reckoning with racial injustice.

Powell is not a practicing Catholic, but has supported Church charitable work in the capital. “He was a man with a big heart for the Archdiocese of Washington,” said Monsignor John Enzler, president and CEO of Catholic Charities for the Archdiocese of Washington, who has known the Powell family for 30 years. with people who need help. “I would never disparage another person’s journey of faith, but I think his journey is celebrated in service to others.”

Related to furious attacks from Trump, Powell did not publicly rebut the former president, but made it clear that he would not resign if asked. “It takes a very strong-willed person to resist being beaten by the president of the United States. He did what he thought was right, and ultimately deserves credit for not engaging in squabbles with the White House,” said Rubenstein.

Critics of Powell on the left say he is too lenient with financial regulations and climate uncertainty. Others say the Fed has fallen behind the upper curve inflationary. But advocates trust Powell to address the issue of higher prices through monetary policy if necessary and convince markets, politicians and the public that he has it under control. “He is someone who when he sees a problem, he does something about it,” said Shai Akabas, who has worked with Powell at the Center for Bipartisan Policy. “It was always on his mind until it was resolved.”

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