For over 25 years, I was a long-haul truck driver, transporting goods across the country. My life changed in 2000, when 1,800 pounds of steel that I was unloading from a truck crashed on top of me. I was pronounced dead on the scene, but later revived. The injuries I sustained that day left me unable to return to truck driving — and with a host of new medical costs. I have relied on Social Security disability insurance to make ends meet ever since, and today my income is a third of what it was when I was working.
People like me who depend on a fixed income should be alarmed by President Trump’s nominee to the Federal Reserve, Marvin Goodfriend. Marvin Goodfriend is an economist who promoted a plan for decades to tax the value of cash deposits held in savings accounts. That’s right: Goodfriend wants to find new ways to take away your savings. Goodfriend believes that his currency tax will stimulate the economy by forcing people to spend their money before its value goes down. But the fact is that wealthy people with massive amounts of savings would find ways around this tax, while low-income savers like me would see what little money we have vanish.
Goodfriend admits that his plan would hurt people who have worked hard to save what little we can more than it would affect rich people — and he doesn’t care. Trump’s nomination of Goodfriend to the Federal Reserve, the country’s most powerful economic policymaking body, should scare anyone with savings, especially the very poorest people with savings, and senior citizens who live on a fixed income. There’s a reason that the conservative Mises Institute has called Marvin Goodfriend the “worst Fed nominee of all time,” and the president of Utah’s Libertas Institute has said “Goodfriend’s nomination must be stopped.”
Beyond his currency tax idea, Goodfriend’s track record as an economist is questionable. In 2012, when the economy was still recovering from the Great Recession, Goodfriend called the objective of getting unemployment to 7 percent “Herculean,” suggesting it was so hard it wasn’t worth it to try to get more people to work. Goodfriend does not believe the Fed has any role to play in reducing unemployment and has called for the outright elimination of the Fed’s full employment mandate. If Goodfriend were in charge, he would have kept millions of people in unemployment lines instead of on the job. Why would we put him in charge now? Whether selling absurd schemes for a currency tax or calling for higher interest rates during a recession, Marvin Goodfriend has shown he can’t be trusted at our central bank.
Utah’s senators understand the crucial role that the Federal Reserve plays in determining economic outcomes in this country, and they know that Federal Reserve officials must have a solid history of sound economic judgment. Goodfriend’s record making wildly incorrect economic forecasts and proposing harmful economic interventions like a cash tax does not suggest he can be trusted with a key position at the Fed. Sen. Rand Paul has come out against Goodfriend’s nomination, meaning that opposition to Goodfriend is coming from both sides of the aisle in the Senate. I urge Sens. Mike Lee and Orrin Hatch to join Paul and oppose Goodfriend’s confirmation.
Richard Robinson is vice president and Northern Utah representative of the Utah Coalition of Manufactured Homeowners. He lives in Farr West, Utah.