You might have noticed that Neel Kashkari is kind of odd. To a certain degree, this can be said of anyone within the Federal Reserve ecosystem. But Kashkari's oddness goes beyond the baseline level of asocial wonkery that characterizes Fed folk. The man is a mass of contradictions – a Goldman banker who led TARP, a nominal Republican who wants to break up the banks, etc – and that makes him an ideal vessel for the ideological fixations of those who don't quite occupy the mainstream of political thought as they cast about for who might become the next Fed chair.
As we learned earlier this week, Kashkari seems a natural fit for the job to Jeff Gundlach, who sees in Kashkari, “the most easy money guy that’s in the Federal Reserve system today” – which of course is true. It may not help that the White House has explicitly ruled out the Minneapolis Fed president for top job, but the argument still of Kashkari still makes sense: he wants his rates low and his big banks broken up, both of which positions Trump has at times advocated (if one more earnestly than the other).
Gross, who runs the $2.1 billion Janus Henderson Global Unconstrained Bond Fund, called Kashkari “a brilliant man,” saying he thinks out of the box.
“He’s got ideas that are a little bit different than other central bankers,” Gross said. “He looks at the market a little bit different from a structural standpoint as opposed to a simple statistical standpoint. Yeah, he’s young. He’s only been there a year or two but he’d be my choice. He’s not going to be the choice.”
Although Kashkari is not considered one of the leading candidates for the job, his views may be closer to the president’s than any of those thought to be on the White House’s short-list.
Kash-money and Trump don't just jibe on the obvious stuff we've discussed before – Kashkari as a low-rates guy, a social media aficionado, etc. Apparently Kashkari has a little #MAGA in him after all:
When he ran for governor of California a few years ago, Kashkari put forth a program to revive manufacturing in the state that often sounded like Trump could have advocated on the campaign trail. Kashkari has also criticized advocates of open borders, telling California governor Jerry Brown in 2014 debate that, “The solution to suffering kids is not open borders.” Kashkari even advocated deporting juvenile illegal immigrants.
Yes, Warsh is a dreaded globalist (though, unlike Gary Cohn, he doesn't get actual scare-globes around his (((name)))). And while Fed chairs don't spend much of their time making policy around juvenile refugees and trade deals, this sort of stuff matters when you're fighting a war for the heart of western civilization.
Does any of that matter? While we can't expect bond royalty like Bill Gross and Jeff Gundlach to have much of an effect on the Trump team's deliberations around Fed chair, Breitbart does matter. It speaks to Trump's base and, when formatted in bullet points, Trump himself. Even so, it still seems far more likely that the job will go to Warsh, or maybe Jay Powell. But Breitbart's intervention into the Fed chair race makes it, at the very least, a bit more interesting.