Media Elite Play Identity Politics While Americans Suffer From Fed’s Monetary Moves

COMMENTARY Markets and Finance

Media Elite Play Identity Politics While Americans Suffer From Fed’s Monetary Moves

Sep 2, 2022 3 min read
COMMENTARY BY
EJ Antoni

Research Fellow, Regional Economics

EJ is a research fellow for Regional Economics in the Center for Data Analysis at The Heritage Foundation.
The U.S. Federal Reserve is seen in Washington, D.C. on August 18, 2022. MANDEL NGAN / AFP / Getty Images

Key Takeaways

American families are being crushed by four-decade high inflation, yet the elites remain preoccupied with their ideology.

Fed officials should be excoriated for their utter failure to implement appropriate monetary policy. They unleashed an inflationary monster on the country.

Competency becomes a lesser consideration when what matters most are immutable characteristics with no bearing on performance.

American families are being crushed by four-decade high inflation, yet the elites remain preoccupied with their ideology.

Exhibit A: This headline from The Associated Press: “Fed tackles inflation with its most diverse leadership ever.” Diverse, you say? Well, in that case, never mind that its disastrous monetary policy is robbing people of their savings and incomes.

The Federal Reserve has utterly failed in its mission to achieve price stability and preserve the dollar’s value. Most Americans are demonstrably poorer now than they were a year and a half ago. Rational people are concerned with how their financial lives are being destroyed, not the skin color of those making such catastrophic decisions. It is little consolation that the pilot crashing your plane is Black or a woman.

But when you are insulated from the deleterious effects of inflation—as are the elites—you can contemplate such nonsensical concepts as diversity instead of reality. This kind of thinking illustrates how some Americans have deviated from the country’s meritocratic roots to the morass of identity politics.

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That deviation has turned into a full-blown obsession for some people. Job performance has become insignificant next to one’s immutable characteristics, especially race and sex. The journalists who write these headlines and stories are not serious people. They know as much about the Fed and monetary policy as they do about meritocracy, which is to say nothing.

The AP article goes on to praise the Fed for having “more female, Black and openly gay officials” than ever before. But these people are not worthy of praise because their performance has been abysmal.

To be clear, Black, homosexual or female members of the Federal Reserve Board should not be belittled for their immutable characteristics—and neither should White heterosexual males. But Fed officials should be excoriated for their utter failure to implement appropriate monetary policy. They unleashed an inflationary monster on the country, a beast that they will now attempt to tame by crushing demand and engineering a recession.

Yet, in the AP article, the fault with the Fed is not based on rank incompetence, but a need for still more diversity. The article bemoans the fact that “a Hispanic American has never served on the Fed’s rate-setting committee” as if Hispanics by nature of their ethnicity are all experts on monetary policy.

Additionally, the article asserts that “diverse groups make better decisions”—a claim that underscores the truly bigoted logic behind this entire train of thought. The implication is that all Black people think alike, as do all Hispanics, all Whites, all women, etc. The only way to get diversity of thought or diversity of expertise, therefore, is through diversity of immutable characteristics. This is blatantly sexist and racist. It dances on the grave of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., who dreamed of a day when people would be judged on character, not color.

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Instead of a bizarre obsession with immutable characteristics that have no bearing on a person’s job performance, the media (and the culture, more broadly) should have a laser focus on merit. Public officials deserve commendation for quality job performance—and nothing else.

Focusing on physical traits instead of merit also tends to be inefficient since it frequently excludes competent contenders for roles using criteria that have no bearing on the job in question. This can place incompetent people in positions of power, where their incompetence can do tremendous harm.

Just like when President Biden refused to consider any Supreme Court candidates who were not Black females to fill the vacancy left by Justice Stephen Breyer’s retirement, the AP story illustrates how racism and sexism are at the root of identity politics. Competency becomes a lesser consideration when what matters most are immutable characteristics with no bearing on performance.

It was by this same logic that Woodrow Wilson, another Democratic president, resegregated the federal government, punishing or promoting based on race. History may not repeat, but it most certainly rhymes.

This piece originally appeared in The Washington Times