Over the course of the last few weeks, I’ve embarked on a reassessment of sorts. Because nobody is perfect, especially me, I occasionally take a look back at positions I’ve taken over the years and rethink them. It is, in part, an effort to see through my own personally unique form of ignorance and stupidity and attempt to refine areas of flaws I can detect. Unfortunately, I am sure that to a large extent I am stuck with what I think I know regarding many topics, having not stumbled upon explanations that make better sense.
One thing that has troubled my conscience to some degree, though I don’t particularly dwell on it, is inferences I’ve drawn concerning former Fed governor Kevin Warsh. A major factor in my unease regarding the inferences I’ve drawn about Mr. Warsh is that I’ve only briefly commented on substance. It’s really no secret that I completely disagree with Mr. Warsh’s public statements. But to some, however, it might appear that I just decided to attack him for his beliefs rather than do my homework. That was never my intent. But, I admit that I never before looked at what reasoning may be behind his remarks.
I’ve gone through some of Mr. Warsh’s background already. His bio isn’t really that impressive from a macroeconomics perspective. He’s a lawyer with a B.A in political science. He did not complete a graduate program for econ. He made his mark as an attorney in M&A at Morgan Stanley. While serving as a Governor of the Federal Reserve, his name was floated as a possible successor to Timothy Geithner at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. He was not selected for that post, and resigned from the BoG shortly thereafter.
The details of substance in his background which is what I am concerned with are murky at best. After hours of research, there is not one single published, peer-reviewed academic paper to his credit dealing with macro theory that I can find. None. Zero. The few papers that he does have to his credit are sufficiently vague as to have neither defined goals, explanation of causes, nor findings (I doubt there is anybody who can waste more space on conjecture that QE is bad without proving it empirically or otherwise – read the only paper of his I can find on macro here). His most recent paper is on the decision-making process of the FOMC where he relies about 50% on his own experience.
That is all there is in the public record for Mr. Warsh – speeches, interviews and anecdotal papers made from a position of authority in name and not substance.
I can’t tell anyone what this means. I have no published academic papers either. But then again, I do not call myself an economist. I am not a former member of the FOMC. Nor am I a distinguished visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution for Monetary Policy. And I certainly am not a top dog on a presidential candidate’s economic team. But it really amazes me how far one can get in saying things people want to hear rather than what they need to hear, as if these might somehow be distinguishable to someone interested in the general welfare.
PS: I cut no corners here. I read every word of the material I could find.