In this post Scott Sumner shows he would make a great talent agent:
Back in 2009 I argued that only elite monetary economists should sit on the FOMC. Some of its current members are not even monetary economists, elite or otherwise. They are unqualified people serving in the most important economic policy position on the planet. I also argued that we should do whatever it takes to attract the best:
I don’t care how much is costs, even if we have to pay FOMC members a billion dollars a year, we will save much more money in the long run if we can get “strong” central bankers (pun intended) who have the vision to see what needs to be done, and who understand that effective policies require explicit target paths for macro aggregates.
Three years later Matt O’Brien made an even better case:
That’s another way of asking how long it will take the economy to return to trend. Here’s where things get really depressing. According to Fed Vice Chair Janet Yellen, we won’t get back to full employment until after 2018. If we assume the output gap will steadily shrink until then, that leaves us with roughly another $4 trillion in lost income. Maybe more. If Svensson really could double our recovery speed, he’d be worth $2 trillion to us. Even if that’s being wildly optimistic, something on the order of hundreds of billions of dollars probably isn’t. Tell me that wouldn’t be worth paying Svensson a billion dollars a year. Maybe more.
A trillion dollars . . . a billion dollars . . . and now the Financial Times is quibbling over a lousy million dollars:
Mark Carney took some persuading to become the next governor of the Bank of England. We know that he initially resisted George Osborne’s blandishments, only agreeing to apply when the term of the appointment was reduced from eight years to five.
But the full price paid by the chancellor has only this week emerged with news that on top of the £624,000 in salary and pension contributions Mr Carney negotiated for himself, the next governor will also receive a housing allowance worth £250,000 a year. This number was computed, we are told, on the basis that it would, after tax, give Mr Carney enough money to rent a house for his family in one of London’s smarter neighbourhoods. It also makes him, when all the cash amounts are totted up, among the best-paid central bankers in the world.
Scott focuses on macro but misses the marginal analysis. This is basic stuff. Yes, we can stipulate that Mark Carney’s move to the BoE will make the world many trillions of dollars richer. But that doesn’t mean we should pay him that much. I would be willing to say, “Keep printing money until the economy ain’t broke no more!!” for a mere £300,000 a year, and a monthly visit to dine with the Queen. I’d hate to see how much Scott thinks we should pay garbage men or teachers.