The latest political firestorm comes courtesy of the top four Republicans in Congress (Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, Jon Kyl, and Eric Cantor), who wrote a letter to Ben Bernanke urging restraint on the economy. "We have serious concerns that further intervention by the Federal Reserve could exacerbate current problems," they write. (Full text here from the Wall Street Journal.) Because the Fed is supposed to be a politics-free zone, the letter has set off pundits:
- David Frum, Frum Forum: "Are they serious? ... It’s an hour of national emergency even more urgent and overwhelming than the aftermath of 9/11. ... This is the hour for united action against the economic crisis, not partisan maneuvering."
- Steve Benen, Washington Monthly: It's a little disturbing that "the leaders of a major political party appear eager, if not desperate, to prevent steps that may improve the economy," he writes. "The 'sabotage' question comes up from time to time, and this certainly won’t help."
- David Indiviglio, Atlantic: Oh, come on. Democrats try to pressure the Fed, too. "Let's not feign outrage about the GOP's attempt to sway the Fed's decision this week. It isn't unprecedented. In fact, it isn't even very threatening. And besides, the Fed will do what it wants anyway. After all, we've got an independent central bank precisely to avoid political influence."