New Face At The Fed

If, as seems likely, President Clinton nominates Brookings Institution economist George L. Perry to the Federal Reserve Board, the central bank will gain a strong voice against precipitous interest-rate hikes. The Fed, said Perry in a December interview, "needs to be concerned with output and employment as well as inflation."

Perry, 59, would replace the board's toughest inflation hawk, Wayne D. Angell, who favors a preemptive rate hike to nip price increases. But Perry argues that no action is needed, because "inflation is receding for now and is under control for as far as anyone can know into the future."

The President's advisers thought Princeton University economist Peter B. Kenen, the runner-up, had stronger academic credentials. But Perry, a 25-year Brookings veteran, proved to be more charming, articulate, and politically savvy. At first, the advisers say, he balked at the post's $123,000 salary--a big cut from his consulting job. He reconsidered after being told he'd be a candidate for Fed vice-chairman when David Mullins' term expires in 1995. Clinton is expected to ratify the choice after he returns from Europe.

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