Check out Eliot Spitzer´s latest column for Slate.com, published today. In it he briefly outlines a problem with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York: its lack of independence from Wall Street and the absence of representatives of "the public" on its board. The column mostly focuses on the board´s structural problems, but at the end Spitzer rattles off a list of alternative potential board members whose participation could improve the New York Fed´s impartiality.
First on the list is John Bogle, the founder of Vanguard Group, the mutual fund company. Bogle is retired and has maintained a reputation for judiciousness and patience. He now writes for his own Bogle Financial Markets Research Center. Also named were Barbara Roper, an official at the Consumer Federation of America; two former Securities and Exchange Commissioners, Harvey Goldschmid and Arthur Levitt; and Joseph Stiglitz, the Columbia University economics professor.
Spitzer is clearly looking for a more academic Fed system by pushing for a learned, analytical bunch. It´s a nice idea, and it makes sense: Get some theoreticians-who may or may not have market experience-to weigh in alongside the big Wall Street bankers.
Spitzer mentions that more than one of the New York Fed board seats is vacant right now. A new wave of appointments could and should take place immediately. If there aren´t some fresh faces among the crowd, it will be worth looking at even more drastic ways to revamp the system.