We spend a lot of time and energy thinking about elected officials and how they impact our lives, but this area is losing a policy maker whose influence may far outreach any politician. Kansas City Fed President Esther George will step away from her duties on Jan. 15, as she has hit a mandatory retirement age for Fed Bank Presidents.
Lot to unpack there. First of all, George appears to be one of us. She is from Faucett, lives in Platte County and when the 12 Fed Presidents meet and set policy, she probably understands the economy and impacts to us more than anyone else in the room. She’s your voice on interest rates, government mortgage purchases and a host of other things that end up making a difference in your daily life.
Let’s circle back, though, and laugh out loud that someone this important is required to retire at 65 years old, but we have buildings full of politicians spending trillions of dollars that are much older than this. That might be a depressing thought, let’s move on.
George has had our back and that is why this matters. She became the Kansas City Fed President in 2011 and has spent 40 years in the building. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Missouri Western, MBA from UMKC. This resume screams “Midwestern” common sense oriented. She probably shops at the same Target as you do. She sees the same economy as you and has stayed true to the area in her policy.
As far back as 2013 she was dissenting against Fed bond purchases that fueled much of the growth of the economy over the last decade but has also landed us in the current quagmire of “paying the piper” through inflation and drawdowns of government involvement.
Her debut vote against buying $85 billion in bonds per month was the first time in the Fed’s 100–year history that a policy maker had not voted yes. She was quoted by Reuters in 2013 as saying this, ““I view the current policies as overly accommodative, causing distortions and posing risks to financial stability and long-term inflation expectations with the potential to compromise future growth.” Ouch. It’s like common sense proved to be true.
Anyway, one of your voices of reason will be out the door soon and we can only hope that her replacement will have as much common sense to continue to represent the true values of our region.
Despite George’s efforts, the bond purchases did not begin to be cut back until 2022. They eventually were spending over 100 billion dollars a month on bond purchases. If you think socialism is about food stamps or unemployment, I’d look closer at Fed bond purchases.
I loved Debbie Coleman-Topi’s article last week about local schools’ thoughts on 4-day week. My old school thought is that this is a terrible idea. I’ve read a bunch of the data. My daughter has worked in a school with the 4-day week arrangement, and I’ve long been against the idea. But let me explain this very easily. School’s problem is not a teacher shortage, it is an administration excess. You want to know where all the teachers are? They’re administrators. Until the top-heavy administration model of public schools is corrected, public schools will continue to underperform, no matter how many days they show up.
Any cursory review of the data shows an explosion in administrative staff and a flattening of the teacher ratios over the last twenty years. I’m sure many disagree with me. We can still be friends, but only four days a week.
Huge compliment came in last week. Foley shared an email blurb about a subscription and the writer said, for once, she agreed with Speckman. Honestly, there is no better compliment. One out of 52 is not a great average, but you never make the shots you don’t take. I’m going for 2-52 this year.
(Guy Speckman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or applying to be Kansas City Fed President)