2017/02/23

México rechaza disposición migratoria de EEUU y defenderá a mexicanos ante la ONU: Videgaray

Videgaray

La nueva disposición migratoria de Estados Unidos fue rechazada por el gobierno mexicano y el canciller Luis Videgaray dejó en claro que acudirá ante la ONU en defensa de los mexicanos.



Ciudad de México – Horas antes de la llegada a México de los secretarios de Estado y de Seguridad Nacional de Estados Unidos, Rex Tillerson y John Kelly; el titular de la Secretaría de Relaciones Exteriores (SRE)Luis Videgaray, rechazó la nueva disposición en materia migratoria del gobierno de Donald Trump, y aseguró que no aceptará que ningún país imponga medidas en contra de los mexicanos, por lo que el país no dudará en acudir a instancias internacionales como Naciones Unidas (ONU) para defender a sus connacionales.
“En primer lugar quiero decir que esto será el tema fundamental que habremos de hablar y de discutir con los secretarios de gobierno de los Estados Unidos que visitan a partir de hoy nuestro país. Este es inevitablemente y por convicción el primer punto en la agenda”, dijo Videgaray.
Las declaraciones del canciller mexicano se dan después de que el gobierno de Trump presentara el martes su intención de endurecer sus medidas migratorias y de seguridad nacional al considerar a casi todo inmigrante ilegal en Estados Unidos como sujeto de deportación.
Luis Videgaray aseveró que ni México ni el pueblo mexicano aceptará disposiciones unilaterales y que favorezcan a sólo una parte de las fronteras involucradas.
“En segundo lugar quiero dejar claro de la manera más enfática que el Gobierno de México y el pueblo de México no tienen por qué aceptar disposiciones que de manera unilateral un gobierno quiere imponer a otro. Eso no lo vamos a aceptar”.
Alrededor de 1 millón de inmigrantes indocumentados están en riesgo de ser deportados, según indicó La Casa Blanca.
En defensa de ellos, en su mayoría mexicanos, el gobierno mexicano insistió en que no dudará en acudir a organismos internacionales en defensa de los derechos humanos.
“México y el Gobierno de México no habrán de dudar en acudir a los organismos multilaterales, empezando por las Naciones Unidas para defender conforme a derecho internacional los derechos humanos, las libertades y el debido proceso en favor de los mexicanos en el exterior”, resaltó el canciller.
La visita de Rex Tillerson y el secretario John Kelly, tendrá lugar el miércoles 22 de febrero en la Ciudad de México, una agenda en la que se discutirán los esfuerzos del Gobierno de Trump para combatir la inmigración ilegal en las conversaciones que mantendrán esta semana con funcionarios mexicanos, dijo el miércoles la Casa Blanca.
“Creo que el secretario Tillerson y el secretario Kelly van a tener una gran discusión allí”, dijo el portavoz de la Casa Blanca, Sean Spicer, a periodistas al ser cuestionado sobre la visita de secretarios estadounidenses a México.

Falabella tantea abrir una nueva tienda en Rosario de la mano de Grupo Irsa

El gigante chileno opera con una macrotienda a pie de calle en la ciudad. El nuevo establecimiento se encontrará en el centro comercial Alto Rosario.

Falabella tantea abrir una nueva tienda en Rosario de la mano de Grupo Irsa

Falabella evalúa fortalecerse en Argentina. El gigante chileno estudia la posibilidad de poner en marcha un nuevo establecimiento en la ciudad de Rosario. El local estaría ubicado en el centro comercial Alto Rosario, propiedad del Grupo Irsa.

De llevarse a cabo los planes del grupo, este sería el segundo establecimiento de la tienda departamental en la ciudad argentina. Falabella tiene un punto de venta en Rosario ubicado la intersección de las calles Córdoba y Sarmiento, en el centro de la ciudad, según ON24. El gigante chileno opera en Argentina con nueve establecimientos en las ciudades Capital Federal, Mendoza, Rosario, Córdoba, San Juan y Gran Buenos Aires.

Grupo Irsa controla las actividades de trece centros comerciales en Argentina. Dentro de los complejos que están bajo su directriz están Alto PalermoDistrito ArcosAbasto ShoppingBuenos Aires DesignMendoza Plaza Shopping y Córdoba Shopping, entre otros.

Falabella finalizó el tercer trimestre de su ejercicio con un beneficio de 210.632 millones de pesos chilenos (314,6 millones de dólares), un 122,4% más respecto al mismo periodo del año anterior. Entre julio y septiembre, la compañía creció un 1,9%, hasta los 2,04 billones de pesos chilenos (3.053,6 millones de dólares). 

La economía mexicana supera las previsiones en el tramo final de 2016

El PIB creció un 2,4% en el cuarto trimestre del año, dos décimas más de lo previsto


Decenas de camiones hacen espera en Tijuana para franquear la frontera entre México y EE UU. REUTERS

El huracán Trump solo causa, de momento, rasguños en la economía mexicana. Las expectativas a corto y medio plazo son negativas, con un crecimiento fuertemente penalizado por el giro proteccionista de su primer socio comercial. Todos los organismos y casas de análisis internacionales se han visto forzadas a reducir sus previsiones de crecimiento para este año. Pero en el tramo final de 2016, en el que ya el cambio político en Estados Unidos ya empezó a tener incidencia, el segundo país más poblado de América Latina mantuvo el tipo mejor de lo previsto. La economía mexicana se expandió un 2,4% en el último trimestre del año pasado, por encima del 2,2% al que apuntaban las cifras preliminares y dentro del rango fijado por la Secretaría (Ministerio) de Hacienda. En todo 2016, México creció un 2,3% frente al 2,6% registrado un año antes.
El cuarto trimestre del año pasado comenzó con la certeza de que la demócrata Hillary Clinton estaría los cuatros próximos años al frente de la primera potencia mundial y terminó con el republicano Donald Trump, que hizo de los ataques a México una de las principales banderas de su campaña electoral, en la Casa Blanca. Y en cambio, en este escenario, el peor de los posibles —el gobernador del banco central mexicano llegó a calificarlo de potencial "película de terror" para los intereses de su país—, su desempeño económico fue notablemente mejor de lo que podría esperarse. En buena medida, este comportamiento es achacable al buen dato del sector servicios (+3,4% interanual).
El índice global de actividad económica (IGAE), cuyo comportamiento refleja de forma bastante precisa la evolución del PIB, también inyecta algo de optimismo: se acelera en diciembre hasta el 2,7% interanual, desde el 2,4% de noviembre. En el último mes del año ya se sabía que Trump sería presidente y, pese a ello, la economía mexicana siguió su curso. "Los datos son sorprendentemente fuertes", apunta Juan Carlos Rodado, jefe de análisis del banco francés Natixis para América Latina. "El consumo ha aguantado muy bien y eso es paradójico: es como si en vez de aplazar las decisiones de compra, hubiese llevado a los mexicanos a consumir más. No se ha materializado aún el ruido político que ha generado la nueva Administración estadounidense".
Sin embargo, y pese a la reciente recuperación del peso —el principal marcapasos de su economía en los últimos meses—, los nubarrones negros siguen acechando a México. Pese a las presiones internas y externas, Trump sigue sin dar marcha atrás en su plan de hacer trizas el Tratado de Libre Comercio de América del Norte (TLCAN). Sigue proponiendo fuertes aranceles para costear el muro fronterizo entre ambos países. Y ya ha llegado al Congreso estadounidense una propuesta republicana de gravar con un impuesto del 2% todas las remesas enviadas por inmigrantes mexicanos. Aunque la mayoría de analistas ve muy difícil la puesta en marcha de este conjunto de medidas proteccionistas y las voces discrepantes no han dejado de crecer, incluso en su propio partido, Trump no se ha movido ni un ápice y las curvas permanecen en el horizonte de México.
"Me preocupa lo que sigue", admite Rodado. "Habrá que ver qué ocurre cuando el choque inflacionista impacte en la economía y eso será en el primer trimestre de 2017". El jefe de análisis de Natixis añade el riesgo de que las recientes alzas en los tipos de interés afecten al crecimiento en la segunda mitad del año: "Aunque la transmisión de la política monetaria sobre la economía real es menor y más lenta que en países como Chile o Brasil, porque el nivel de crédito sobre PIB es bajo, a partir de junio empezará a pesar sobre la economía mexicana". Sus previsiones no han cambiado: sigue pronosticando un 2017 y 2018 "difíciles" para México, pero se muestra más optimista que en los primeros días del año. "Todo apunta a que el escenario catastrófico, que apuntaba a una recesión a medio plazo, no se va a materializar", zanja Rodado.
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Jimmie Johnson Tops Dale Earnhardt As Nascar's Highest-Paid Driver

Dale Earnhardt, Jr. has been the biggest personality in Nascar for more than a decade. He’s clinched the fans' most popular driver vote for 14 straight years. His merchandise sales lap the competition annually, and he’s been the highest-paid driver in the sport for eight straight years.

But concussion symptoms caused Earnhardt to miss the final 18 races of the 2016 season and the prize money that comes with it, ending his run as Nascar’s top-earner (Jeff Gordon was the last driver to surpass Earnhardt). Jimmie Johnson takes the title as Nascar’s highest-paid driver in 2016 after he clinched his record-tying seventh Cup championship with a win at Homestead-Miami Speedway in the final race of the season. Johnson earned $21.8 million by Forbes' count from salary, bonuses, prize money, endorsements and licensing.
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Jimmie Johnson rank head-and-shoulders above the rest of the field when it comes to their annual earnings. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images )
Winning the Cup isn’t nearly as lucrative as it used to be. Johnson and his Hendrick Motorsports team earned a $1.9 million Sprint Cup bonus, while the 2015 bonus was $4.7 million for champion Kyle Busch. Blame the new charter system, which has created more parity in the distribution of purses and bonuses.

"The last time I stood on stage, it was 7-and-a-half [million],” said Johnson in November before clinching the title. “It's a huge change." Johnson has his years mixed up as it was $5.2 million in Johnson’s 2013 title year, but it was $7.2 million in 2008 for Johnson title No. 3. A huge change, indeed.

The contracts for Johnson and his longtime car sponsor, Lowes, are both up in 2017, but expect at least two-year extensions for both with a decent chance of three for the 41-year-old Johnson, as he shoots for an eighth title to break his tie with Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt, Sr.

Johnson’s earnings are supplemented by personal sponsorship deals with Gatorade, Chevrolet, Seiko, and Blue Bunny. He’s put some of those riches back into his eponymous foundation, which has doled out $9.5 million since 2006 to help children and families in need. The current focus is on K-12 public education.
Despite missing half the season, Earnhardt was barely nudged out by Johnson with earnings of $21.1 million. Earnhardt drives the most valuable real estate in the sport with a car that can command $1 million per race from sponsors. The hefty price tag pushes his salary to the top of the charts. Earnhardt and Danica Patrick have the highest endorsement incomes in Nascar. Nationwide, Chevrolet, Axalta, Taxslayer, Goody’s and Wrangler all have personal sponsorship deals with Earnhardt.

Like Johnson, Earnhardt’s contract with Hendrick expires in 2017, but he’s taking it slowly before committing to racing beyond this year. Earnhardt wants to see how he feels back in the car after last year’s layoff. "I've done everything I ever thought I would do," Earnhardt recently told ESPN The Magazine. "I've done more than I thought I was capable of doing. I look at my trophies and can't believe they're mine."

Denny Hamlin ranks third with $15.2 million. Hamlin held off Martin Truex Jr. by .011 seconds last year to win the closest Daytona 500 in the history of the sport. It was the first Daytona 500 win for Joe Gibbs since 1993 in what is the richest event in Nascar. Hamlin has personal sponsorships with Nike's Jordan Brand, Coca-Cola, Sports Clips, Toyota and the Greenbrier resort.

Rounding out the top five are Kyle Busch ($15 million) and Kevin Harvick ($13.9 million). Two of the sport's legends cracked the list in their final seasons on the track with Carl Edwards at sixth ($12.3 million) and Tony Stewart No. 8 ($12 million). Sandwiched between them is Patrick, who earned $12.2 million thanks to her vast off-track earnings.
The top 12 drivers in the sport earned $168 million in 2016 from salaries, endorsements and their share of purses and licensing. It is a significant decline from 2013 when we estimated the top 12 at $192 million.

The retirement of Gordon is part of the fall, but driver salaries are also getting squeezed by the slowdown in sponsorship dollars flowing to teams. Less sponsor money means lower salaries. The drop-off in earnings is steep after the top 12. The sports' leading teams, Hendrick, Joe Gibbs, Stewart-Hass and Penske attract the most sponsor dollars, allowing them to field the best drivers and win the most. Nascar's top 12 earners all came from the four teams above, who won 30 of the 36 races in 2016 and all but two of those races in 2015. The four power teams have captured 12 straight Cup titles.

The charter system is intended to create more parity and help the little guy by spreading out the purse and bonus distributions deeper throughout the driver pool, instead of the bulk directed towards the top finishers. Each charter team receives a fixed plan amount, plus a historical plan amount based on the past three years of performance for the car. But for now, the top-earners are concentrated among four teams.
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Walmart Outperforms Amazon As The Competition Heats Up


(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Walmart grew online sales for its fourth quarter faster than Amazon. Walmart reported fourth quarter sales growth of 29% compared to Amazon's 22% increase in total sales.

Yes, you read that right. Walmart grew online sales at a faster rate than Amazon.
The news is surprising because recent headlines declared Walmart all but dead, thanks to Warren Buffet's decision to sell 90% of his stake in favor of airlines.

But it shouldn't be. Walmart has been making big changes in the digital business and quite frankly, has a lot of runway to post good results as those begin to bear fruit. Walmart is the second largest online seller in the U.S. after Amazon, but the two aren't even close. Walmart's online sales for 2015 was $13.7 billion compared to Amazon's $107 billion.
Last year the company bought Jet.com for roughly $3 billion and has quickly integrated the business and begun leveraging synergies. More importantly, Jet.com founder Marc Lore, now CEO of Walmart's U.S. e-commerce business wasted no time in tackling issues included shipping charges, marketplace growth and began refining its membership program.

According to Stephan Schambach, serial entrepreneur and CEO of NewStore, "Amazon became the 'Walmart of the Internet' before Walmart could. But since the acquisition of Jet.com, it appears Walmart is on the path to reclaiming a title that should’ve been theirs."

"[A] combination of a massive brick and mortar footprint with an emerging e-commerce player like Jet.com put both companies in a better position for battle," Schambach said in an email. In-store pickup of online orders at Walmart stores grew 27% during the recent holiday season compared to last year.

More importantly, Jet.com founder Marc Lore, now CEO of Walmart's U.S. e-commerce business wasted no time in tackling issues included shipping charges, marketplace growth and began refining its membership program.

According to Stephan Schambach, serial entrepreneur and CEO of NewStore, "Amazon became the 'Walmart of the Internet' before Walmart could. But since the acquisition of Jet.com, it appears Walmart is on the path to reclaiming a title that should’ve been theirs."

"... a combination of a massive brick and mortar footprint with an emerging e-commerce player like Jet.com put both companies in a better position for battle," Schambach said in an email. In-store pickup of online orders at Walmart stores grew 27% during the recent holiday season compared to last year.

In response to Walmart's changes and growing momentum, Amazon recently lowered its free shipping minimum to more closely match Walmart's. Shoppers now need $35 to qualify, down from $49. Walmart lowered its free shipping minimum to $35 in January.
It's entirely possible that Amazon is reaching a saturation point with Prime in the U.S. The company hasn't released the number of Prime members - it only says "tens of millions" - but some estimates put that figure as high as 66 million.

That's 66 million customers with a very desirable customer profile. They represent the highest earning households and once invested in the program are incredible loyal.
And while Walmart waited a bit too long to invest in digital, investment is now accelerating, notably with the acquisition of unique and completely businesses such as last week's purchase of Moosejaw.
"We've got quite a few experiments going on in the company these days and we’re learning at a faster rate," said CEO Doug McMillon during a conference call.

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How the Federal Reserve Can Maintain Its Independence

YellenFederal Reserve chair Janet Yellen is facing a delicate balancing act amid pressure from the Trump administration that some feel could undermine the Fed’s independence, even as she may be willing to concede some ground in reviewing financial regulations.
In testimony to Congress on February 14 and 15, Yellen gave no major hints about a possible interest rate increase at the next Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting on March 14-15. She did say that she expects “the evolution of the economy to warrant further gradual increases in the federal funds rate,” as “waiting too long to remove accommodation would be unwise.” However, she made it clear that “monetary policy is not on a preset course” and economic data would guide future rate actions.
“One thing that is not clear from statements [President Donald Trump] has made in the past is that he understands what independence of the institutions means — whether it is the judiciary or the Federal Reserve,” said Lisa Cook, professor of economics and international relations at Michigan State University. “We absolutely have to guard this independence. That is what has gotten us out of the recession — let’s be clear — because Congress abdicated its responsibility for fiscal stimulus. The Fed has been doing all the heavy lifting getting us out of the recession.”
Rumors of Yellen’s departure from her office before her term ends in 2018, which Yellen herself has denied, have raised concerns over Trump’s ability to influence monetary policy and regulation in the long run. Irrespective of what Yellen decides, Trump will get to have his way in other places in the monetary policy-making and regulatory establishment, according to David Zaring, Wharton professor of legal studies and business ethics. “Even if she doesn’t [leave], the President is going to have a real chance to remake the Fed,” he said.
Zaring pointed to the need to replace Daniel Tarullo, a Federal Reserve board member who is widely credited with leading financial regulation after the 2008 recession. Tarullo resigned last week, but will stay on until early April. That means Trump must fill a total of three vacancies on the Fed’s Board of Governors. Like Yellen, Fed vice chair Stanley Fischer also completes his term in 2018. Similarly, three of five commissioner spots are vacant at the Securities and Exchange Commission, following the voluntary departure on January 20 of chairwoman Mary Jo White. Many heads of divisions at that agency have also quit, Zaring said. “So there is a lot of work to be done in re-staffing financial regulators. And staffing choices really can make a huge difference.”
Cook and Zaring discussed the emerging contours of the Fed’s independence, interest rates and financial regulation on the Knowledge@Wharton show on Wharton Business Radio on SiriusXM channel 111. (Listen to the podcast at the top of this page.)
Whither Interest Rates?
The most immediate speculation is over how Yellen and the FOMC will act on interest rates. “[Yellen] was as cautious as she has been and can be,” Cook said of the Fed chair’s congressional testimony. “They have three quarter-point rate hikes that are penciled in. She is in no hurry for those hikes to proceed if the data are not there, especially with respect to increased uncertainty in the economic data.” That data would cover the period after the presidential inauguration “or since some of these policies have been introduced or at least alluded to,” she added, underlining the direct impact of the Trump administration on economic growth. “A lot of uncertainty has been introduced, and this will make all of the members of the FOMC be more cautious.” However, Cook noted that a third of the economists who have been surveyed “suggest that there will be a rate hike in March.”
“Even if [Yellen] doesn’t [leave], the President is going to have a real chance to remake the Fed.”–David Zaring
Wharton finance professor Krista Schwarz also agreed with Yellen’s cautious approach to raising rates. “Many have been arguing for a long time that the Fed has set rates too low,” she said. Schwarz, who previously worked for the Fed, pointed out that inflation is “still too low” and the economy seems to be “very close” to full employment. She predicted that the Fed “will pick up the pace of tightening a little bit this year” while Yellen monitors economic data. “But they will not raise rates sharply unless and until they actually see signs of an inflationary problem in hard data.”
Schwarz said the shifting positions of advocates of higher interest rates make a decision more difficult. “Those arguing for much higher rates seem to constantly change the rationale,” she explained. “Sometimes it is inflation, sometimes it is financial stability, sometimes it is fiscal policy, and sometimes it is just [about] wanting banks to be more profitable. The morphing rationale brings these arguments into even greater question.”
Easing Cash Flows
In her testimony, Yellen rejected the idea that excessive regulation has hampered bank lending. “I see well-capitalized banks that are regarded as safe, strong and sound,” and they are “capturing market share,” she told the Senate Banking Committee earlier this week. Zaring said many in the political establishment do not share that view, and referred to Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s comment that banks aren’t lending enough and that it is hurting small businesses. Also, corporate America and Wall Street are complaining that it is hard to obtain financing in the bond market, he noted. “All of these people suggest that credit is difficult,” he said. “It is interesting to see the Fed say that they don’t seem to agree, or Janet Yellen isn’t willing to go there.”
Such complaints about lending are not new, said Cook. “Banks always say they could use more money and firms always say they could use more money,” she said, referring to her surveys of banks and firms over the past two or three decades.
“A central bank’s independence is the cornerstone of its ability to execute effective monetary policy.”–Krista Schwarz
Cook pointed to payment delays as a serious factor that causes a liquidity crunch for small businesses, and she called for some form of government intervention to unclog those pipelines. She recalled that during 2011-2012, suppliers were slowing down payments to small businesses. “This kind of cash crunch can have a significant effect on a small business,” she said. “That’s a margin along which there can be some action — some sort of governmental intervention.” She said the government could ensure that small businesses that are government contractors are paid in a more timely fashion. The objective should be to get payments made within 30 days, “but veering away from what was creeping up to be 180 days for many suppliers.”
Small businesses do not have the cash flow to accommodate payments that are held up for 180 days or longer, Cook said. She recalled that during the last government shutdown (in September-October 2013), providers of government services that were privatized didn’t get paid because there was no work during that time period. Some of those people missed mortgage payments, and applying for unemployment benefits takes time, she noted. “Small [financial troubles] can have very big effects on individuals, on families and on small businesses,” she said. “Often, families, individuals and small businesses are interconnected, so there is something that we could do [for them], especially with government contractors.”
Areas of Agreement
Janet Yellen had to “toe a difficult line,” said Zaring, referring to her willingness to review financial regulations, even as she disagreed with attacks on the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. “She feels that Dodd-Frank is working and that it shouldn’t be repealed or re-jiggered in the way that the President and his treasury secretary suggested is appropriate.”
Meanwhile, the Fed is not taking a hard line on regulation, Zaring noted. He referred, for example, to Yellen suggesting in her testimony that Congress might want to consider exempting some smaller community banks from the Volcker Rule (which sought to prohibit banks from making speculative investments that do not benefit their customers). “[Then], maybe those smaller banks are more receptive and likely to help out small businesses with the financing they need,” he said.
According to Schwarz, a full-blown repeal of Dodd-Frank is unlikely, but parts of it may well be amended by Congress. In any event, she said the executive branch of the new administration “is clearly going to take a much softer line on financial regulation.”
Retaining the Fed’s Independence
Schwarz said the continued independence of the Fed is a looming concern. “We are in the early days of the new administration, and the noise-to-signal ratio of news in this regard is high at present,” she said. “But, some of the bills that have been proposed in Congress and some of the statements made by Trump on the campaign trail could indeed raise worries about Fed independence if these were to become a more clear course of policy.”
Schwarz explained why the Fed’s independence is critical. “A central bank’s independence is the cornerstone of its ability to execute effective monetary policy,” she said. “A lack of independence confers a lack of credibility in the institution’s policy motives. An infringement on the Fed’s independence would be a very bad outcome. Credibility is crucial to anchoring inflation expectations and guiding investment and savings decisions in the economy.”
Cook said that while the White House and the Federal Reserve communicate with each other during “times of crisis,” or even during normal times, there is no congressionally mandated requirement for the Fed chair to make presentations to the President. However, the Fed chair is required to make periodic presentations to Congress, she added.
That said, how Fed chairs have related to the President has varied in history, said Cook. Alan Greenspan, for example, “made sure that he stayed in the good graces of [Bill Clinton],” she noted. But Paul Volcker, who served as Fed chair under Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan, took a different approach, she said. “He just hiked interest rates out of this world, he contained the inflation rate and it actually worked.” Ben Bernanke had “a good working relationship in managing the financial crisis,” but he crafted his approaches in consultation with representatives of the Bush and Obama administrations, she added.
A big factor in how Fed chairs relate to the President is a concern about how history will record their work, according to Zaring. “One of the things that Fed chairs think about when they think about their legacy is how independent were they from the President, and there are a lot of things that go into that independence calculation,” he said. For instance, Arthur Burns, the Fed chair from 1970 to 1978, “was thought to be too close [to Richard Nixon], and it’s hurt him as far as the way he is viewed by people today,” he recalled. “So Fed chairs have a legacy-oriented reason to keep their distance, and that arm’s length relationship characterizes — maybe with the exception of Greenspan — most of the recent chairs.”
“It would be a shame and very difficult if there were a loss of memory of how the financial crisis came about and why this regulation … was put in place.”–Lisa Cook
Both Cook and Zaring were concerned about the possibility that Yellen could step down before her term expires. President Trump has said he would like to replace Yellen when he gets a chance, but Yellen has made it clear that she will complete her term. But “this environment is poisonous,” said Cook, referring to the rumor mills suggesting that she may quit. “I lived in Russia, so I saw how that can happen, but it happens in this country, too.” She added that it would make it easier for Trump to replace Yellen if there were a rumor that she was ready to step down. In any event, Yellen could stay on as a member of the FOMC until January 2024, Zaring noted.
Cook noted that Yellen has risen through the ranks of the Federal Reserve and is “very popular” internally in her organization. Yellen has also ensured open communication channels, she said. “She is a person who allows information to flow to the top.”
Stirrings of a New Order
While the Fed and the regulatory regime face headwinds, regional Federal Reserve banks could act as an effective check, said Zaring. “One of the reasons they are so important to the way the organization works is because we were always uncomfortable in America with an almighty central bank so they tried to create these regional institutions that could check the power of one all-powerful Fed chair,” he said. Regional banks also serve an important function in interacting with the businesses in their communities, he added. “In addition to being this trust of the central government, it is also a means by which there can be a flow of information,” said Cook.
Zaring noted that even if Congress and the President want to roll back regulations, they cannot have it their way all the way. “The Fed is still going to be there in bank holding companies, supervising their day-to-day activities,” he said. “That informal oversight can really retain a lot of regulatory supervision.”
Replacing the old guard in monetary policy and bank regulation with new faces could have damaging effects, according to Cook. “It would be a shame and very difficult if there were a loss of memory of how the financial crisis came about and why this regulation … was put in place,” she said. While some aspects of laws and regulations could be tweaked, “there has to be some institutional memory,” she added. “There has to be a memory about what was happening before our system was going gangbusters and the economy was growing and we were adding jobs like we are now. There has to be sensitivity to that, and to protecting consumers.”