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Bush names Greenspan successor

In a surprise announcement that shocked the economics community, President Bush named Robert McCleskey, his personal tax accountant, to succeed Alan Greenspan.  McCleskey, who has little or no track record in the area of monetary policy, will now face the rigors of a grueling confirmation process.

Given the defining nature of the appointment and the challenges of filling Greenspan’s legendary shoes, some observers were surprised  the President chose McCleskey, a man who has never written on anything vaguely related to the Federal Reserve or monetary issues.  When asked about why he chose McCleskey the President responded aggressively.

"He’s a heckuva accountant and he’ll make a heckuva Fed chair.  When you get to know him as I do, you’ll trust him, too."

At the end of the remark, the President seemed to wink in the direction of a Wall Street Journal reporter.  The Journal has been a fan of Greenspan.  Markets surged uipward when news of the wink hit the street, but they soon returned to their pre-wink levels.

The Senators who will make the ultimate decision on the nomination seemed more concerned.  One Republican Senator who spoke on  condition of anonymity said that he had been reassured to discover that McCleskey had heard of Milton Friedman and had promised to fight inflation with the same ferocity as Greenspan.  "But," he added, "will he be able to speak for a half an hour without saying anything, the way Greenspan could?  That skill isn’t something most accountants have at their fingerprints."

Most Senators refused comment until McCleskey has time to respond to a detailed questionnaire about his views and experiences.

White House staff is preparing for a tough battle.  They have sequestered McCleskey at an unknown location making him read Friedman and Schwartz’s "Monetary History of the United States" and a detailed glossary of technical terms like "M1" and "velocity."

One staffer who refused to be identified said he expected an easy confirmation.  "It’s not like the Miers nomination to the Supreme Court," he explained.  "We had to teach her all those Latin phrases."


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