NEWS & ANALYSIS

WOKE NOT BROKE: Sen. Pat Toomey Warns Fed is Going ‘Woke’


As is the case with troves of institutions these days, the Federal Reserve Bank, nicknamed the Fed, appears to be going woke. 

Sen Pat. Toomey (R-PA) warned that the Fed, which is tasked with setting monetary policy, is perpetuating “structural racism” as the leading cause of inequality in the United States as part of a series of virtual events titled “Racism and the Economy.” 

The top republican on the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, Toomey on Monday requested documents and a briefing about politically charged issues in letters to the presidents of three of the Fed’s 12 regional banks involved, the Daily Signal reports. 

“Of course, racism is abhorrent and has no place in our society,” he wrote. 

“I recognize the interest in studying economic disparities along demographic lines, such as race and gender. However, this subject matter is fraught with ideological assumptions and interpretations, and the work and analysis of the…Fed seems heavily laden with political and value judgements,” he added. 

The three banks, located in Minneapolis, Boston and Atlanta, initiated the webinar series, which claims to be about understanding the “implications of structural racism in America’s economy and advancing actions to improve economic outcomes for all.” 

Toomey indicated his concern that such attention is innapropriate for an independent government entity that is supposed to be independent of politics. 

“Whether or not this is your personal view, I would remind you that only Congress has the authority to reform the Federal Reserve or modify its statutory mission,” he wrote. “Moreover, I would caution you on the reputation damage being inflicted on the [Minneapolis/Atlanta/Boston] Fed and the Federal Reserve as a whole by pursuing a highly politicized social agenda unrelated to monetary policy.” 

Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank spokeswoman Karen Mracek shared a response with the Daily Signal

“We have received the inquiry from Sen. Toomey’s office, and we look forward to discussing with him how better understanding racial inequality helps the Federal Reserve reach its mandate of maximum employment and ensure economic gains are widely experienced across the population, regardless of race,” she said. 

Boston Federal Reserve Bank spokesman Joel Werkema said the bank did not have an immediate response, but they will “carefully review the correspondence from the senator.”