Mr Biden. The Choice of Fed Chairman

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Your final decision is getting close.

It’s down to renaming Jerome Powell or choosing Leslie Brainard.

Here’s my argument for Powell:

He’s done an excellent job. The markets are moving in the right direction and he’s earned the respect of most people. His detractors, Senators Sanders and Warren figuring prominently, are at the core of the left wing of the party, the same wing that has played a big role in delaying legislative negotiations and for which you’ve paid a price in the drop of your approval rating.

Thankfully, the infrastructure bill finally passed last night, after strenuous effort on your part.

Powell has done what he can about inflation.

The fact that people are choosing not to return to work because they have money in their pockets, is not his creation. The pandemic required monetary stimulus and he did it. He’s now begun to decrease the purchase of bonds.

How high will inflation rise is anybody’s guess. With both Powell and Brainard the Federal Reserve will be in good hands, but Powell has the advantage of having been in the thick of the battle. And it is not over yet.

From what I can see you need to be careful with the perception that the left wing has much influence over you.

The whole lot could have done a little more for you countering the harsh criticism you’ve got for getting us out of Afghanistan, which I believe was the right choice. Maybe I missed it, but did Sanders and Warren and AOC and the leader of the progressive caucus step up to offer a word of support? Just one word? Don’t think so. Why not?

You beat Trump but still he got 74 million votes. That’s a whole lot of votes. And they may even forgive him his role in the Capitol riot on 1/6/2021. Unbelievable but there it is.

You don’t have much margin to play with. This could go against you easily. And then we’ll have to wring our hands the last two years of your presidency because nothing can get through unless Mitch McConnell gives his consent.

You’ll get tired of inviting him to the Oval Office where he will listen and grin, then say, ‘Well, Mr President, that’s what my constituency believes. So sorry.’

You’ll look down and think to yourself, ‘How in hell did it get away from me?’

Best

Oscar Valdes.      Oscarvaldes.net

News and the Markets. Afghanistan has Fallen. Issue 1

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But what effect will it have on the markets?

I think it will have a positive effect. There might be a downward blip come Monday but then the Dow will rebound.

For too long it’s been clear we had no business staying there. Neighboring Pakistan had persistently undermined our efforts to prop up the anti Taliban regime in Kabul.

Biden’s decision to pull out, which I believe was the right one, accelerated what was long felt to be an inevitable outcome. Afghans who were not on the Taliban’s side did not put enough effort into preparing for the resistance. 

Ashraf Ghani, Afghanistan’s president, flew out earlier today to Tajikistan, a former Soviet Republic that shares a border.  

Hamid Karzai, a previous president, has stayed behind with his three daughters and has offered to take part in the transition of power, but it’s all up to the Taliban.

Will the new regime be as backwards and repressive as the one that we displaced in 2001?

There is reason to believe they may not. Our twenty year presence has left an imprint and largely positive. We have left evidence of how things can be done differently.

Next door, in Iran, a more modern version of a Muslim government is in place, one which allows women to go to school, work and even hold political office. Maybe that will influence the new rulers.  

We will see. 

Does the fall of Afghanistan represent a political setback for Biden? I don’t think so, though many will try to depict it as such. 

Initial reports from Kabul say that the evacuation of foreign diplomats is proceeding unhindered. President Biden sent additional troops to facilitate the process.

Oscar Valdes.    Oscarvaldes.net

Biden. Building Bridges

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Dear Mr Biden:

The likelihood is that there will be no miracles in Afghanistan and the forces of Afghan nationals we trained will not be able to hold back a surging Taliban.

Miracles do happen and maybe we’ll get lucky.

But just in case they don’t come through, this is a great opportunity for you to begin a series of talks with the American people about what went wrong and why it is time to move on.

As I said in an earlier blog, I agree with your decision to pull out.

Still, it will be painful to see the Taliban claim victory after 20 years of sustained efforts by us and our allies. 

Thus, the American people needs to hear from you.

Hear from you as in you talking us through the pain of the loss.

There is much pain in that troubled land and there will be even more after we leave but there is much pain here in our nation, too, which addressing has long been deferred. 

We need to leave Afghanistan because our resources are not limitless. 

We need to hear that. 

Twenty years we invested in that country and while we made our share of mistakes we were also undermined by many, including our ally Pakistan. Maybe that needs to be brought up, too. 

But here at home our divisions are crippling us.

We need to hear that.

As you often said during the campaign, you want America to lead by the power of our example and not by the example of our power. 

And so you have rightly committed to nation building.

You have already set the wheels in motion but the road ahead is filled with difficulty.

‘So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is… fear itself… which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance,’ FDR famously said in his inaugural address in 1933.

Much of what ails us now springs from a lack of trust in our ability to listen to each other. To listen and strive to understand.

I have no doubt that by your example, we may better be able to do so. 

A weekly talk, say 15 minutes, with you addressing us all, Republicans and Democrats, will make a difference.

Please do consider this option. 

After all, what is there to fear but fear itself.

Good luck

Oscar Valdes.    Oscarvaldes.net