Monthly Archives: October 2017

Jerome Powell, Trump’s pick to lead Fed, would be the richest chair since the 1940s

By Heather Long

In 2011, when Republicans were threatening to force the government to default on its debt if the party’s policies were not adopted, they found support in a flashy, wealthy businessman: Donald Trump. “The Debt Limit cannot be raised until Obama spending is contained,” he tweeted.

A countervailing voice came from a wealthy, mild-mannered businessman who had left the world of high-finance to work for a $1 a year for one of Washington’s quiet think tanks. Jerome Powell, a former Carlyle Group executive and investment banker who had served a stint in the George H.W. Bush administration, traveled around Capitol Hill with a large binder from the Bipartisan Policy Center, urging Republicans to understand the risks of a default on the economy.

“He was the right person at the right time,” says Jason Grumet, president of the Bipartisan Policy Center. “Powell brought a credible, factual presentation to Capitol Hill that allowed him to be effective despite the aggressive politics at the time.”

Now Trump, a combative politician who has tried to upend the institutions of Washington, is expected this week to name Powell as the new chairman of the Federal Reserve, where he serves as a governor. Fed chair is the top job steering America’s economy, and, according to people familiar with the process, Trump has decided to tap Powell for it after deciding against renominating the current Fed chair, Janet L. Yellen, or going in a sharply different direction by tapping Fed critics John Taylor or Kevin Warsh for the job. Prior presidents had typically renominated the sitting Fed chair, especially when the economy was doing well.

In some ways, though, Powell, who goes by the nickname “Jay,” fits the mold of a typical Trump pick for premium post. He’s a Republican …read more

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Here’s how much Virginia taxpayers are spending to jail marijuana users

By Christopher Ingraham

Marijuana advocates gather outside the U.S. Capitol on April 24 to urge lawmakers to lower restrictions on marijuana use in Washington. (Melina Mara/The Washington Post)

Over the past 10 years, Virginia authorities have arrested more than 133,000 people suspected of marijuana possession. Each year, about 10,000 individuals are convicted of a first-time marijuana possession offense. And on one day in July 2017, there were 127 individuals in jail on a marijuana charge alone, costing Virginia taxpayers more than $10,000 a day.

Those are among the findings of a report on marijuana decriminalization prepared by the Virginia State Crime Commission ahead of consideration of proposed legislation to decriminalize marijuana possession in the state. The bills would not legalize marijuana outright but would make possession of small quantities of marijuana a civil offense punishable with a fine, similar to a traffic ticket. Under current Virginia law, a first marijuana offense can be punished by up to 30 days in jail and a $500 fine.

In practice, according to the State Crime Commission’s report, relatively few people are jailed for marijuana offenses. Jail time is often waived for first-time offenders, and only about 31 percent of subsequent marijuana offenses are punished with jail sentences.

Among the 127 inmates jailed in Virginia on marijuana charges on July 20, more than three-quarters of them — 96 — were still awaiting their day in court. The remaining 31 marijuana inmates had been charged and convicted. The average per-inmate cost to taxpayers to jail an inmate in Virginia was $79.28 per day.

Thousands of Virginians are convicted of marijuana possession offenses each year, and the number is growing: In fiscal 2008, there were 6,533 convictions for first-time marijuana possession in Virginia. The preliminary numbers for fiscal 2017 show more than 10,000 such convictions.

Those convictions, regardless of whether …read more

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