Saturday, August 02, 2008

Anna Schwartz, Still Feisty

I noted the bowed gray head across the library at the American Institute for Economic Research. She was to give a talk to visiting students and fellows on the evolving role of the Federal Reserve.

[Thanks to for the image.]

Siding up to her chair, I put a soft hand on her shoulder and she lifted her attention from the Financial Times. I had to repeat my introduction--her hearing isn't what it once was. But as soon as she got the words, a bright smile lit up her face.

I didn't want to tire her before her upcoming effort, so I left her to her collected thoughts. She seemed too tiny to stand up to the demands of improvised talking and questioning, and someone warned me that she would probably simply read a recent paper. So I prepared myself to be a little uncomfortable listening to something I had already read.

Twenty minutes later, I was listening to the booming clear thunder of her voice as she laid on thick her criticism of the Fed's lack of moral backbone (my words--she is much more diplomatic).

Walker Todd, co-writer with Dr. Schwartz of an upcoming article about the legal and economic significance of the Fed's recent actions, would ask a leading question of her, and this uncanny out-of-body voice just took over.

This woman's mind is still as sharp as it ever was. She updates her stats and info daily and--better yet--retains them, analyzes them, and puts them to good use. She is 93 years old.

Even at this advanced age, she'd make a great Fed chairman.

She got her Masters in economics at Columbia, age 19. What a phenomenon.

See this article for her position.

As soon as her new co-authored paper is available, I'll link to it.

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