Different Dread from the Fed
“The next six months could make what we have experienced so far seem like just a warm-up to a greater catastrophe. With many schools and colleges starting, stores and businesses reopening, and the beginning of the indoor heating season, new case numbers will grow quickly.” That sounds like the latest pronouncement from Dr. Anthony Fauci of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, or perhaps Dr. Deborah Birx or CDC boss Dr. Robert Redfield.
It’s actually Neel Kashkari, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, in a New York Times op-ed co-authored with Michael T. Osterholm of the University of Minnesota, who holds a PhD in environmental health and an MPH in epidemiology. A previous version of this commentary failed to mention Osterholm, and this author regrets the oversight. In any case, the pair are certain that woe is upon us and another hard lockdown will put the nation aright.
According to the Federal Reserve, Kashkari earned degrees in mechanical engineering from the University of Illinois and an MBA from the Wharton School. From 2006-2009, Kashkari served in the U.S. Department of the Treasury as senior advisor to Secretary Henry Paulson and then as assistant secretary of the Treasury. In that role, he established and led the Office of Financial Stability and oversaw the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) for both Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.
In 2008, People magazine named Kashkari as one of the sexiest men alive. In 2014 he told Peter Hamby of CNN, “I play to win at everything I do,” and that year he ran unsuccessfully for governor of California.
The joint New York Times op-ed charts financial instability deriving from the current crisis. “This pandemic is deeply unfair,” Kashkari and Osterholm write. “Millions of low-wage, front-line service workers have lost their jobs or been put in harm’s way, while most higher-wage, white-collar workers have been spared.” And looking ahead, “there won’t be a robust economic recovery until we get control of the virus.”
[This post contains revisions to the original version.]