Herman Cain is reportedly set to be nominated by President Donald Trump for a spot on the Federal Reserve. If appointed, the pizza chain executive’s nomination would round out Trump’s history of laughable appointments to senior positions since taking office.
Cain’s nomination was first rumored at the end of January. Trump’s past nominees to the Fed have fared poorly. He selected Jerome Powell as chairman of the Fed and has since spoken of his regret over the decision, likening the chairman to “a golfer who cannot putt.”
The president also nominated economic commentator Stephen Moore to the central bank. Moore’s nomination has been steeped in controversy over revelations he is tax delinquent and is engaged in a child support dispute with his ex-wife.
The accidental president has had little luck in appointees and nominees to senior positions both within and outside of the White House. His selection of Steve Bannon as Chief Strategist at the White House was as unsuccessful as it was controversial. Lasting only seven months in the position, Bannon has been accused of having “done more than any other person to introduce the … alt-right into mainstream American life” by conservative commentator David French.
Bannon’s exit preceded those of a series of staffers, including Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci (6 days), Chief of Staff Reince Priebus (6 months), and K. T. McFarland as Deputy National Security Advisor (3 months).
Herman Cain has had a distinguished career in the private sector as founder of Godfather’s Pizza. He also served as the chairman of the Kansas City Fed between 1989 and 1996, before moving into politics. That background in monetary policy could perhaps offer Trump some confidence in a Fed he has lost patience with.
After a decade of historically low interest rates, Trump has been outspoken against the central bank for gradually tightening the money supply. That being said, Cain might not satiate the president’s desire for a return to a more inflationary stance as the economy falters. Cain warned in 2014 that the benchmark interest rate near zero was not sustainable. But would he have the courage to oppose Trump?
Like many Trump appointees and nominees, Cain has endured his own fair share of controversy. He dropped out of the 2012 GOP primaries in the wake of allegations of sexual harassment (though on that front Trump has endured the same reputational stains).
The Cain campaign was infamously premised on his 9-9-9 tax plan. The outrageous hat-tip to dumbed-down simplicity had at its core a nine percent corporate, income, and sales tax regime replace existing tax policy.
Needless to say, sexual harassment allegations and a 9-9-9 tax plan sank the entrepreneur’s presidential ambitions. If he gets the nod from the Senate after his expected nomination, don’t be surprised to see him push for a rate change – most likely to a figure ending in the number 9.