WASHINGTON — President Clinton's decision to renominate Alan Greenspan for another term as chairman of the Federal Reserve represents a "why mess with success" approach to economic oversight - one that could have the side effect of lifting Vice President Al Gore's presidential campaign.
Mr. Greenspan is highly regarded in Washington, on Wall Street, and around the world as the primary architect of US monetary policy during the economic boom of the 1990s. The period has seen the longest economic expansion in US history.
His careful use of interest rates to guard against inflation has been credited with helping to fuel the boom on Wall Street. By lowering interest rates in late 1998, Greenspan fueled domestic consumption, which helped the global economy weather the shocks of the emerging market financial crisis. That US expansion was widely credited with preventing a global recession.
Some analysts see in the reappointment an affirmation that the political establishment is effective - a "faith in government" move that could extend to Mr. Gore, who is fighting charges of being a "Washington insider."
Greenspan was first appointed Fed chairman in 1987 and has served three terms.
(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society