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Monday, October 24, 2005


Edward Hugh

Well New Economist, I guess that this appointment makes us both happy. I have been backing him from the start, and I always imagined this choice.

He has also been setting the intellectual agenda around the Fed for some time now, with the deflation danger alert (his main work after all was on debt deflation in the 30s), fronting the 'weak labour market' argument, and then the savings glut thesis. He could well also be the architect of the 'measured pace' policy. My guess is that even after he left the Fed temporarily, Greenspan would have been in regular 'pow wow' with him.

"Best of all is the passing over of the obnoxious Martin Feldstein, who will have to content himself with endless attacks on Social Security from his bunghole at Harvard University."

Sorry to be blunt New Economist, but do some people have no shame? Hanging out your ignorance in public like this Sawicky character does would make most of us blush.

I don't think this was Feldstein's job, but his record at the NBER, including encouraging diversity in points of view (remember it was he who 'sponsored' Krugman) seems to be excellent. Also, while I have no particular view on any of the existing social security reforms being proposed in the US (due to my lack of knowledge) the work I am doing right now about the use of overlapping generations models in understanding how ageing affects saving goes right back to an early and pioneering paper by Feldstein in the 70s. He certainly gave the wakey wakey call that Paygo systems were unsustainable and needed reform.

He is also one of the few US economists to stick his neck out and say that the euro won't work (which it won't). Maybe if instead of insulting him people were to pay attention to what he is actually saying some other people might be saved a bit of pain later down the line.

So even though I don't think this was his job - he is too direct, says what he thinks - this won't work for the Chairman at the Fed - thank god there are still some people who are willing to sock it out. Don't worry Marty, at least one person over here in Europe appreciates you.


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