Which Judy Shelton would show up at the Fed?

Until very recently, Shelton has been a consistent voice for tight money. In 2010, she decried the idea that the Fed would strive for 2% annual inflation. That was much too high. It meant that “over and above all the taxes you pay … you will also give up another 18 percent of what you’ve earned and saved” over a decade, as inflation eats away at the value of your dollars. “An egregious violation of your property rights,” she called it. The next year, she said that any inflation, even at a rate as low as 2 percent a year, is “highly immoral.”

She kept sounding the same notes for years afterward. Quantitative easing was a mistake; the U.S. should lead the way to a new international gold standard; the Fed should stop setting “ultralow interest rates.”

But she is sounding very different now that she has a chance to be the nominee of a president who favors lower interest rates and isn’t worried about inflation. She told the Washington Post last month that she would lower interest rates “as expeditiously as possible,” just as Trump wants. Her concerns about the debasement of the currency and the violation of property rights brought about by loose money are evidently a thing of the past. The price of gold has been rising for much of the last year, which the Shelton of yesteryear would have seen as a sign that monetary policy needs to tighten. The Shelton of today doesn’t.

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