It's a president's prerogative to replace the chair of the Federal Reserve Board, if desired, when that person's four-year term runs out. But most presidents reappoint if the chair wants to stay on the job.

A recent exception was Donald Trump, who replaced Janet Yellen with Jerome Powell. While he technically replaced a Democrat with a Republican, we could also point out that he replaced a competent woman with a competent man. He wound up with essentially the same monetary policies from the structurally independent board and was bitter about it.

Now it's President Joe Biden's turn, and he's under pressure to replace Powell with a Fed chief more to progressives' liking. Powell's term ends in February, so an announcement could come any day. Online betting markets that trade on the anticipated outcome of events recently gave a 70% chance that Powell will remain.

That's the outcome we'd recommend. The role of the Federal Reserve Board is to provide the nation as much economic equilibrium as possible against a constant swirl of forces that can and do knock things off-kilter. Since the calibration involves jobs, the cost of living and the regulation of large, for-profit financial institutions, it would be susceptible to ideology and electoral politics were the board not designed to disregard those inputs.

In some corners, the argument that the Fed is above politics is considered quaint. Progressives argue that the monetary policies of the last several decades have in fact reflected an ideological tilt toward deregulation that has led to unfairness. In their estimation, a president can and should nominate a chair who'll reverse that trend. In particular, some progressives want the Fed to take an active role in battling climate change.

But Powell has not been an aggressive proponent of deregulation so much as he's been receptive to adjusting rules put into place during the financial crisis of 2007-08. Meanwhile, the central bank's power to play a role in climate policy — for instance, by increasing capital requirements on banks lending to fossil fuel companies — is minimal.

The focus on these subjects diverts attention from the Fed's core tasks of maximizing employment while keeping inflation in check. The Fed board under Powell responded well to the economic impact of the pandemic. There's more of a question of whether monetary policy is now too loose with regard to inflation, which the board agreed could run a bit hot to solidify the recovery.

It's important to note that although the chair holds one of the most powerful economic positions in the world, that person is most of all an influencer. Decisions are made collectively with the other members of the Board of Governors and Federal Open Market Committee, who have no obligation to vote as the chair wishes. Biden will also have the opportunity to fill at least three of those spots.

The Fed chair also influences the economy through public speaking. The goal is to say nothing alarming. Some past chairs have achieved this through the brand of obscurity known as Fedspeak. Powell has been somewhat more direct, telegraphing policy changes in a manner that has kept the markets stable.

One knock against Powell is a recent controversy over trading by regional presidents in the Federal Reserve System. However, he has responded appropriately to those revelations.

Powell's most immediate competitor for the lead spot is Lael Brainard, a Democrat on the Fed board whom Biden is reported to have interviewed. Brainard is well-qualified, and her aggressive regulatory stance appeals to progressives, but such an appointment would bolster the notion that the Fed should respond as much to the administration's goals as to economic conditions.

For her part, Yellen — now secretary of the Treasury — recently weighed in to say that Powell is doing a good job, though she allowed that other people could, too. Once a Fedspeaker, always a Fedspeaker.