Thursday, May 10, 2007

Volcker and Wolfowitz

Ex-Federal Researve chairman Paul Volcker side-stepped a question about the fate of Paul Wolfowitz at a Foreign Press Association dinner this evening. That's not surprising, as Volcker is involved in a probe of the World Bank's anticorruption team.

However, I thought his way of saying "no comment" was interesting. Volcker had just devoted a portion of his speech to hailing the Bank's anti-corruption drive. In declining to answer, Volcker noted that the question of Wolfowitz's staying or leaving was related to the anti-corruption drive. So I interpreted that response as leaning in the direction of Wolfowitz.

I'm used to following Volcker's Delphic pronouncements as Fed chairman, so maybe this is reading too much into his "no comment." Probably.

Meanwhile, I have a nominee for Dumbest Comment about the Wolfowitz Situation, from Portfolio.com blogger Felix Salmon. He writes, inter alia: "Wolfowitz has to go, for a multitude of reasons. He no longer has the support or the respect of the Bank's staff, for starters."

Funny, but since when does "support or respect of the Bank's staff" matter? Who cares what they think? Doesn't it matter more whether he is the right man for the job, not whether he is winning popularity contests at the annual staff picnic?

© 2007 Gary Weiss. All rights reserved.

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Wall Street Versus America was published by Penguin USA on April 6.
Click here for its Amazon.com listing and here for more information on the book, from my web site, gary-weiss.com.

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