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"Fed Up" to Bankers in Jackson Hole: Help Working People

Economists are headed to Jackson Hole to urge the Federal Reserve to raise its inflation target to spur higher wages and more jobs. (Getty Images)
Economists are headed to Jackson Hole to urge the Federal Reserve to raise its inflation target to spur higher wages and more jobs. (Getty Images)
August 24, 2017

JACKSON HOLE, Wyo. – The nation's most powerful bankers are descending on Jackson Hole this week for the Federal Reserve's annual economic symposium, and they'll be met by a coalition of labor and policy groups who want a say in how the economy is mapped out.

Shawn Sebastian, co-director of the Fed Up Campaign, says the biggest decision facing the Trump administration is who to pick for Fed chair.

Sebastian hopes to make the case that Trump should reappoint Janet Yellen for her track record on creating jobs.

"Or, he can replace a qualified woman with another Wall Street "bro" of his who will do a worse job and make the economy more susceptible to another financial crash," he says.

The top contender to replace Yellen is Gary Cohn, Trump's chief economic adviser and former Goldman Sachs president. Sebastian says with many Americans still recovering from the Great Recession, now is not the time to appoint a Wall Street insider to the nation's top financial post.

Sebastian says the Federal Reserve has more direct impact on jobs and wages than the president or Congress. He believes the next few months will determine the future of the nation's economy, as Trump is set to appoint five of seven members to the central bank's Board of Governors to 14-year terms.

"This is like the Supreme Court of the economy," he adds. "And there's a danger that those five of seven spots will be packed with people from Wall Street, from Goldman Sachs, from some of the architects of the last financial crash who made out with billions."

Fed Up is hosting a panel Thursday challenging the Fed's rationale for slowing job and wage growth due to inflation concerns. A recent letter by 22 economists urged the Fed to reconsider its inflation target.

According to the Center for Economic Policy Research, allowing a higher benchmark would be good for all workers, but especially for African-Americans who face an unemployment rate two times higher than white workers.

Eric Galatas, Public News Service - WY