“The New York Fed just appointed Denis M. Hughes as its chair. Lee Bollinger has been named as vice-chair,” grumbles National Review‘s Jonah Goldberg. “A union organizer and a very liberal lawyer, just the team we need.” Hughes, president of the New York State AFL-CIO, has served on the New York Federal Reserve Board since 2004, became deputy chairman in 2007, and was named acting chairman in May when then-chairman Stephen Friedman resigned after questions arose as to his dealings with (and large holdings of stock in) Goldman Sachs.
Nonetheless Hughes’ appointment is considered a departure, as he has no banking experience, having mainly worked as an electrician and labor leader. The Wall Street Journal naturally blames regulation, and “critics” who “say the New York Fed is too cozy with Wall Street” — which describes the situation of departed chairman Friedman…
Conservatives may also be disturbed to learn Hughes has said that as Chairman “my job is to do whatever I can to make sure working families are considered when decisions are made.”
New Vice-Chair Bollinger is the President of Columbia University, which suggests Goldberg’s opposition may be rooted in school rivalry (Goldberg is an alumnus of Goucher College), or in Bollinger’s invitation of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to speak at Columbia in 2007, though Bollinger’s harsh introduction of Ahmadinejad pleased Goldberg at the time.