This Brain Trust Is Really Smarting

FOR HOMEOWNERS ANXIOUSLY watching their adjustable-rate mortgages shoot up, take comfort: Many members of the Clinton Administration's economic brain trust share your pain. A BUSINESS WEEK survey reveals that a goodly number of them have adjustable-rate mortgages, including Treasury Secretary Lloyd Bentsen. He chose an ARM late last year just as fixed-rate loans hit their lowest point in 20 years.

Other advisers bearing ARMs: Laura D'Andrea Tyson, head of the Council of Economic Advisers, and CEA member Joseph Stiglitz. Adding insult to injury, Stiglitz's 91-year-old father refinanced his Munster (Ind.) home to a fixed mortgage just when rates bottomed--and needles his son for missing the chance. CEA nominee Martin Neil Baily, who was overwhelmed with work at McKinsey & Co., never got around to refinancing the 9% fixed mortgage on his home in Maryland.

Then there's multimillionaire Robert E. Rubin, the former co-chairman of Goldman, Sachs & Co. who heads the National Economic Council. During New York City's mid-1970s real estate crash, Rubin bought a Manhattan co-op that has since soared in value. He paid cash.

      ALICIA MUNNELL  15-yr fixed,
      Ass't Treasury Sec'y    6.625%
      LAURA TYSON             ARM
      Chairman, CEA
      MARTIN NEIL BAILY       30-yr fixed,
      CEA nominee             9%
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