White House Gamble Pays for a Princeton Professor
Even before President Bush named Ben S. Bernanke as chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers this spring, Mr. Bernanke decided to gamble. He sold his home in New Jersey last year and told friends that, instead of returning to a tenured professorship at Princeton University, he was taking a chance that President Bush would elevate him from obscurity as a Federal Reserve governor to a top political appointment.
The gamble paid off.
It’s Nerves of Steel Bernanke! He takes the chance of selling his lovely home in a prime Princeton location—at the peak of a huge real estate bubble! He bets that he will be appointed to the Fed, bravely facing the bleak and frightening possibility that—should Bush choose someone else—- he would be snapped up by the top-ranked economics department of his choice. He knows no fear!
Don’t get me wrong: I think Bernanke is a good guy, and he was the obvious choice for the job. I just like the way the Times is spinning it. If anything, the fact that he can make a decision with no real downside look like a bet-the-farm gamble suggests he has what it takes to chair the Fed.