members are appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate to a 14-year term. The chairman of the board is also appointed by the President but only for a four-year term. The influence attached to the chairman’s position (he controls the agenda of the board and has immediate access to the President’s ear) easily makes him one of the most influential people on Capitol Hill. Board members also have unique access to other central banks around the world and to information on monetary issues no one else has.
If Ferguson is confirmed to the Fed, it will be at a time when the actions of this institution are being seriously scrutinized. Additionally, it comes at a time when black employment gains, while still significantly behind whites, have narrowed to their lowest level in 25 years. For the most part, the Federal Reserve Board of Governors will determine the extent to which these gains will continue.
–Thomas Boston, a member of the B.E. Board of Economists, is a professor of economics at the Georgia Institute of Technology