Saturday, February 11, 2006

Hacked Off

Yet another example of political implanting by the Bush administration:

Most of President Bush’s nominees to the Federal Reserve have earned accolades from across the economic and political spectrums.

And then there’s Kevin Warsh.

Bush’s nomination of the 35-year-old White House aide — a lawyer by training who would become one of only two members of the Fed’s seven-member board of governors without a doctorate in economics — has been greeted by criticism and bewilderment by some former Fed officials and economists. They point to his political connections and inexperience, and say the White House could have found a better-known, more qualified choice.


Warsh, if confirmed, would be the youngest member on a panel where the average age is 58. The nominee graduated from Harvard Law School in 1995 and spent the late 1990s working on mergers and acquisitions for Morgan Stanley in New York, where he provided financial advice to technology companies.


Warsh was hired by the White House in 2002 and began work on Sarbanes-Oxley, the corporate governance law that placed new restrictions on companies after scandals at Enron Corp. and WorldCom Inc. He has also served as the White House liaison to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Campaign disclosures show that Warsh gave $1,000 to Bush’s 2000 election campaign and $1,000 to his 2004 re-election bid. Warsh is married to Jane Lauder, a granddaughter of cosmetics pioneer Estee Lauder; Jane Lauder’s father, Ronald Lauder, was U.S. ambassador to Austria under Reagan and has donated $104,000 to the Republican National Committee since the 2000 election campaign, according to records compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics.

Given the recent disclosure that a 24-year-old political appointee was giving orders to NASA on how to explain that the Big Bang was “just a theory” — like gravity — and the fine model that the president himself set as relying his entire life on the kindness of daddy’s rich friends to bail him out of everything from college to the National Guard, why is it no surprise that a kid fresh out of law school with no background in higher economics — except for knowing which campaign to give money to — should land a seat on the Federal Reserve Board? By that logic, Justin Timberlake should be appointed to the Pulizter Prize committee, provided, of course, that his daddy gave a ton of money to Columbia University.