Monday, July 29, 2013

Obama picks blogger Nate Silver to chair Federal Reserve

Posted By on 07.29.13 at 12:34 PM

All that glitters is Nate Silver
President Obama this morning named blogger and statistician Nate Silver to lead the Federal Reserve after Ben Bernanke's term expires in January.

Introducing Silver to reporters in the White House briefing room, Obama noted that the data guru had called the winner in 49 states in the 2008 presidential election, and in all 50 states last year. "Nate's our country's best and brightest prognosticator," the president said. "When Nate predicts something, you can take it to the bank. It's time all America profits from this prophet. "

The Dow Jones rallied after Obama's announcement. Gold was down, but Silver futures soared.

Silver's blog, FiveThirtyEight (the number of electors in the electoral college), has been published in partnership with the New York Times since 2010. But a week ago, ESPN announced that Silver would leave the Times next month for the network, where he will blog about sports, politics, economics, culture, science, and technology, while also appearing regularly as a political analyst on ABC News.

ESPN won a yearlong courtship for Silver between the network and the Times, which had offered Silver a staff of a half dozen to a dozen bloggers in their quest to keep the top generator of traffic to its website.

In the White House briefing room, the 35-year-old native of East Lansing, MI, said he isn't worried that he'll be overextending himself by adding the central bank job to his other duties. "With ESPN and ABC, I'll be calling Senate, House, and Major League Baseball races, and forecasting heat waves, cold fronts, and Oscar winners. It's not so much more to be predicting inflation, GDP, and unemployment." He reminded reporters that a large team would be working for him at ESPN, and said two research assistants would help him handle the fed work. He called the position with the federal reserve a "logical next step" for him.

Silver still must be confirmed by the Senate, but he said the probability was 93 percent.

Obama said Silver will not only determine federal reserve policy, he'll also blog about it. He lauded Silver's storytelling abilities. "Ben Bernanke has served his country admirably," the president said, "but I think Nate can make the financial system come alive for Americans, and give taxpayers the cross-platform, cross-discipline fed experience they want today."

The president said he and Silver shared perspectives on the key issues. "Nate knows that we have to grow the economy, and we both like the Cardinals in the World Series."

Obama dismissed media reports that he would also ask Silver to lead the departments of education, agriculture, and defense as "premature."

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