The subtle dagger in the back
A friend asked me today what I thought of Bernanke's appoint as Fed Chief. I replied that I thought it was a good thing -- everyone seems to think he's perfect for the job and, of course, the markets went wild with delight. I was therefore surprised when my friend, who is not a political animal and does not follow financial markets, announced that, of course, Rubin was the best man for the job. Robert Rubin, I thought. Where's that come from? Well, it turns out that my friend, who reads the San Francisco Chronicle religiously, found that little nugget here, in the Chron:
"From an economist's view, this is the most exciting thing that has happened. He got it on merit. It's not who he knew," says Christina Romer, an economist at UC Berkeley who, with her husband David Romer, wrote a paper on what makes a good Fed chief. The Romers, both Democrats, say Bernanke is the best Republican Bush could have chosen. Although he is not outwardly political, Bernanke is cut from the same free-market, small-government cloth as Greenspan, the Romers say. "He is a believer that taxes have a disincentive effect. Like Greenspan, he will have a preference for getting the deficit down by cutting spending," rather than raising taxes, says Christina Romer. One area where Bernanke trails Greenspan is experience on Wall Street. Bernanke has none. Greenspan built an economic forecasting practice that consulted for many Wall Street firms. "The best choice for Fed chairman from the perspective of financial markets was probably Robert Rubin," says Lonski. Rubin was at Goldman Sachs for many years before he became Bill Clinton's Treasury secretary. Today he is chairman of the executive committee at Citigroup. "Rubin would have been the choice if a Democrat was in the White House," says Lonski.And there you have it. Rubin had Democratic ties, therefore he would have been the best, and only Bush's blindly partisan qualities prevented him from giving the U.S. the Fed Chief it really deserves. MSM -- you gotta love it.