Stephen Foley: More partisan tricks delaying delivery

US Outlook: Worrying signs on Capitol Hill, No 1,276. The appointment of Peter Diamond, veteran economist at MIT, to the Federal Reserve board of governors appears in jeopardy after objections from Republicans.

Officially, the 70-year-old economist's appointment has been sent back to the White House for reconsideration because his monetary policy background is not strong.

Really, headbanger Republicans don't like the fact that he has advocated for higher taxes and other remedies to sort out the impending insolvency of social security.

After the relatively narrow vote to reconfirm Mr Bernanke as Fed chairman, this is another attempt to increase the politicisation of the Fed, and a warning shot across the president's bows should he try to appoint Elizabeth Warren, consumer advocate and Harvard professor, as chairman of the new consumer financial protection agency.

The result is that the Fed barely has a quorum of governors and the borrowers could face a protracted wait for their first consumer champion – neither of which is conducive to reducing uncertainty and improving confidence.

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