Obama Taps Fischer For Fed

President Obama today announced plans to nominated Stanley Fischer, the former Governor of the Bank of Israel, to be the vice chairman and governor of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve.

He will succeed former vice chair Janet Yellin, who was confirmed by the Senate this week to chair the Fed, succeeding Ben Bernanke.  All three are Jewish, as is Bernanke’s predecessor, Alan Greenspan. 

Bernanke is a former student and protégé of Fischer when both were at MIT.  Fischer holds dual US and Israeli citizenship.

As an Israeli economist, Fischer played a major role as head of the Bank of Israel in guiding the country’s economy successfully through the global recession of the past decade, a time when Israel experienced strong growth while others were shrinking.  As an American economist in the mid-1980s, he played a key role in rescuing Israel’s economy at a time when it was in deep trouble.  His friend and former colleague, Secretary of State George Shultz, picked Fisher and their friend and colleague, Herb Stein, who had been Chairman of President Nixon’s Council of Economic Advisors to examine the Israeli economy and make recommendations to help stabilize it.  Israel was then experiencing triple digit inflation, falling foreign exchange reserves and weak economic growth.

Since leaving his post in Jerusalem, Fischer has been critical of the Netanyahu government for not working hard enough to make peace with the Palestinians.  He told a Knesset committee that Israeli leaders were “making irresponsible and tendentious excuses for not pursuing” peace.  A strong defense is not the only answer, he said. “We must also try to find other solutions, and try to achieve a peace agreement with our neighbors, including with the Palestinians,”

Fisher’s nomination for a six-year term must be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.  Here is the White House announcement:

Dr. Stanley Fischer served as the Governor of the Bank of Israel from 2005 to 2013, where he successfully navigated Israel’s economy through the global financial crisis.  Prior to joining the Bank of Israel, Dr. Fischer was Vice Chairman of Citigroup from 2002 through 2005.  From 1994 to 2001, he was the First Deputy Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), addressing the Asian, Russian, Brazilian, and other financial crises of the late 1990s.  Before he joined the IMF, Dr. Fischer was the Killian Professor and Head of the Department of Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).  From 1988 to 1990, he was Vice President, Development Economics and Chief Economist at the World Bank.  From 1973 to 1994, he taught economics at MIT.  Dr. Fischer was Assistant Professor in the Department of Economics at the University of Chicago.  He received a B.Sc. and an M.Sc. from the London School of Economics and a Ph.D. from MIT.

About the Author
Douglas M. Bloomfield is a syndicated columnist, Washington lobbyist and consultant. He spent nine years as the legislative director and chief lobbyist for AIPAC.