1960s ‘Money-Market Men’ Design Their Dream Fed Chairman

Catherine Hollander

With Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s term set to expire in January, the handicapping of the race to replace him has begun. The Washington Post on Tuesday morning placed the highest odds on Fed Vice Chairwoman Janet Yellen, former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers, and former Fed Vice Chairman and current TIAA-CREF CEO Roger Ferguson.

It's an old pastime, a more fanciful version of which The New York Times explored when the term of Fed Chairman William McChesney Martin Jr. was coming to an end in 1969. The paper interviewed “money-market men who work closely with the Federal Reserve” and composed their dream Fed chief. It reads a bit like a child's diary description of a future boyfriend:

In the end, economist Arthur Burns was chosen. 

For what it’s worth, Bernanke has remained mum on his plans, telling a reporter at a March press conference, "I don’t really have any information for you at this juncture.” But, he added, “I don’t think that I’m the only person in the world who can manage the exit” from the easy-money policies the Fed has had in place since the crisis. Bernanke has been Fed chairman since 2006 and is widely expected to step down when his term ends.