Monetary Policy and the Economy: A Conference Examining Central Banking’s Impact on Prosperity


May 19, 2014


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With the Federal Reserve undergoing a leadership transition and persistent questions about tapering our accommodative monetary policy, America’s central banking system seems to be at the center of much debate.  With this in mind, the Bush Institute has convened a conference to examine how monetary policy impacts economic growth, while addressing how America’s central banking system can become more effective.  Contributing to the discourse will be a conversation between former Chairman of the Federal Reserve Ben Bernanke and former White House Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten.

The Honorable Margaret Spellings
President, George W. Bush Presidential Center

Panel I: How Monetary Policy Impacts Growth

Featuring experienced central bankers, as well as a voice from the private sector, this panel will examine the intersection of the Federal Reserve with the American economy. It will also have an international representative to serve as a means for comparison. From a policy perspective, this panel will discuss the impact of both expansionary and contractionary monetary policies, while also clarifying how such policies impact households and businesses in America and abroad.

Al Hubbard, Chairman, E&A Industries, Inc.
Kevin Warsh, Distinguished Visiting Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution
Agustín Carstens, Governor of Banco de México
Mark Okada, Co-Founder, Chief Investment Officer, Highland Capital Management

Panel II: The Future of the Federal Reserve

The Federal Reserve has two key objectives, often called a dual mandate: maximum employment and stable prices. Although the goals have been around since the creation of the Federal Reserve in 1913, they often become the subject of controversy in times of slow economic growth, as America has experienced since the Great Recession. Join policymakers and economic leaders as they discuss why the dual mandate matters and what steps, if any, can be taken to improve the efficacy of America’s central bank.

Al Hubbard, Chairman, E&A Industries, Inc.
Kevin Brady, U.S. House of Representatives, Texas Congressional District 8
Stephen Friedman, Chairman, Stone Point Capital
George Selgin, Professor of Economics, The University of Georgia             


Moderated Discussion: The Role of the Federal Reserve

Join Richard Fisher, President and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas and John Williams, President and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco as they discuss how their views on monetary policy were shaped, while also addressing how and why decisions are made within the Federal Reserve. Maria Bartiromo, anchor and global markets editor at Fox Business Network, will moderate the central bankers’ discussion.

A Conversation with Ben S. Bernanke, Introduction by President George W. Bush

Former Federal Reserve Chairman, Dr. Ben Bernanke, will appear in a moderated conversation with former White House Chief of Staff, Joshua Bolten, in one of Dr. Bernanke’s first public appearances since leaving office. The conversation between Dr. Bernanke and Mr. Bolten will address their time in Washington, D.C., the state of the economy, and everything in between.

Supported by


Maria Bartiromo
Maria Bartiromo is anchor and global markets editor at Fox Business Network, which she joined in January. She anchorsOpening Bell with Maria Bartiromo on FBN and Sunday Morning Futures with Maria Bartiromo on Fox News Channel. She has covered business and the economy for more than 25 years and was one of the building blocks of business cable network CNBC. Honors include Emmys for her Bailout Talks Collapse and Inside the Mind of Google programs and a Gracie Award for Greenspan: Power, Money & the American Dream. In 2009, the Financial Times named Bartiromo one of the “50 Faces That Shaped the Decade.” She was the first female journalist inducted into the Cable Hall of Fame. Bartiromo is the author of several books and a monthly column in USA Today. A graduate of NYU, Bartiromo has served as an adjunct professor at its Stern School of Business.

Ben S. Bernanke
Ben S. Bernanke served as chairman of the Federal Reserve from 2006 to 2014.   From 2002 to 2005 he was a member of the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors, and in 2005 he was appointed chairman of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers.   Prior to joining the Federal Reserve, Dr. Bernanke taught at the Stanford Graduate School of Business (1979-1985) and at Princeton University (1985-2002), where he also served as chair of the economics department.  He has written extensively on macroeconomics, monetary economics, and economic history.  Dr. Bernanke earned degrees from Harvard University (BA, 1975) and MIT (Ph.D., 1979).  He is married and has two children.

Joshua Bolten
Joshua Bolten is Managing Director of Rock Creek Global Advisors, an international economic and regulatory policy consulting firm, which he co-founded in 2011. He spent the preceding two years as a visiting professor at Princeton University.

Bolten served in the White House under President George W. Bush as Chief of Staff (2006-09), Director of the Office of Management & Budget (2003-06), and Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy (2001-03). He was Policy Director of the Bush 2000 presidential campaign. Bolten’s 20 years of government service also includes positions as General Counsel to the US Trade Representative and Chief Trade Counsel to the US Senate Finance Committee. Bolten’s private sector experience includes work at Goldman Sachs in London.

Bolten is a graduate of Princeton University and Stanford Law School. He serves on the boards of Emerson Electric Co, the US Holocaust Memorial Museum (Vice Chair), and the ONE Campaign.

Kevin Brady
Kevin Brady represents the 8th District of Texas in the U.S. House of Representatives. A champion of free enterprise and American-made energy, Kevin’s focus is job creation, reducing Washington spending, and sun-setting obsolete federal agencies. Kevin holds key leadership posts in Congress, including Deputy Whip and Chairman of the Joint Economic Committee. He is a senior member of the House Ways & Means Committee and chairman of the Ways and Means Health Subcommittee. As chairman, he focuses on ensuring a strong, free market in the nation’s health care industry and looking for ways to increase the quality of health care, while keeping costs low. And as chairman of the Joint Economic Committee, he has been a Republican leader on economic issues – opposing tax-and-spend policies, fighting hard against efforts to raise taxes on families, small businesses, and American energy producers.

Agustín Carstens
Agustín Carstens has served as Governor of the Bank of Mexico since January 1, 2010. He was previously appointed Mexico’s minister of Finance, a position he held until December 9, 2009. While serving as minister of Finance, Dr. Carstens also chaired the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank Joint Development Committee from March 2007 to October 2009.

In December 2011, he was named by The Banker “Central Bank Governor of the Year for 2012-Global and Americas” and in October 2013 he was named by Euromoney magazine “Central Bank Governor of the Year for 2013.”

In October 2006, he was invited by Mexico’s elected President Felipe Calderón to join his transition cabinet as chief economic coordinator, in charge of framing the new administration’s economic and financial program. In August 2003, he was appointed deputy managing director at the IMF and was responsible for handling the IMF’s relationship with more than 70 member countries. He served as deputy finance minister in Mexico from 2000 to 2003.

Dr. Carstens has been a member of the Steering Committee of the G-20 Financial Stability Board (FSB) since early 2010 and a member of the Board of Directors of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) since 2011.Since April 2013, he is chairman of the FSB Standing Committee on Assessment of Vulnerabilities (SCAV). He is chairman of the Economic Consultative Council (ECC) and the Global Economy Meeting (GEM) at the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), both in charge of setting and carrying out effective coordination and cooperation activities among central banks, in favor of global monetary and financial stability.

He also previously served as Banco de México’s treasurer and had, among other responsibilities, the task of managing the central bank’s international reserves and conducting the open market operations and the central bank interventions in the foreign exchange and money markets. Dr. Carstens began his professional career in 1980 at Banco de México, where he held many positions at the central bank’s International Department.

He holds a M.A. (1983) and a Ph.D. (1985) in economics from the University of Chicago. He received his B.A. in economics,summa cum laude, from the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM) in 1982.

Richard W. Fisher
Richard W. Fisher is president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas and is a member of the policymaking Federal Open Market Committee. Fisher began his career in 1975 at the private bank of Brown Brothers Harriman & Co. In 1987, he created Fisher Capital Management and Fisher Ewing Partners. He served as deputy U.S. trade representative with the rank of ambassador from 1997 to 2001. He was also vice chairman of Kissinger McLarty Associates, a strategic advisory firm chaired by Henry Kissinger. Fisher is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, an honorary fellow of the Hertford College at Oxford University and serves on Harvard University’s Board of Overseers. In October 2006, Fisher received the Service to Democracy Award and Dwight D. Eisenhower Medal for Public Service from the American Assembly. In April 2009, he was inducted into the Dallas Business Hall of Fame.

Stephen Friedman
Stephen Friedman is a retired Chairman of  Goldman Sachs & Co. and currently serves as Chairman of Stone Point Capital, LLC,which manages funds investing in insurance companies, banks and other financial services businesses.  From December 2002 to December 2004, he served as Assistant to President George W. Bush for Economic Policy and Director of the National Economic Council. He served as Chairman of the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board and of the Intelligence Oversight Board from January 2006 to January 2009. Mr. Friedman is a former Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. 

Mr. Friedman is currently a board member of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and the Council on Foreign Relations.  Prior affiliations include board member of Goldman Sachs, Chairman of the Board, Columbia University and Director of Wal-Mart and Fannie Mae.

Mr. Friedman received his B.A. from Cornell University in 1959 and LL.B. from Columbia University Law School, Law Review, in 1962. 

Allan B. Hubbard
Al Hubbard co-founded E&A Industries, Inc. in 1977 and serves as its Chairman.  Starting with no capital, Mr. Hubbard and his partner acquired and grew a number of small businesses in specialty chemicals, hotel amenities, light fixtures, medical equipment, gluten-free baked goods, and women’s apparel.

In addition to his work at E&A Industries, Mr. Hubbard has served in the White House in two different administrations.  During the George H. W. Bush Administration, Mr. Hubbard was Executive Director of the President’s Council on Competitiveness and Deputy Chief of Staff to Vice President Dan Quayle.  During the George W. Bush Administration, Mr. Hubbard was Assistant to the President for Economic Policy and Director of The National Economic Council. 

Mr. Hubbard has also served on a number of for-profit and not-for-profit boards including WellPoint Corporation and Simon Property Group.

Mr. Hubbard earned his J.D., cum laude, from Harvard Law School, his MBA with Distinction from Harvard Business School, and his B.A., cum laude, from Vanderbilt University.

Mr. Hubbard and his wife, Kathy, reside in Indianapolis and have three children, ages 28, 26 and 26. 

Mark Okada
Mr. Okada is Chief Investment Officer of Highland Capital Management, L.P. and is responsible for overseeing Highland’s investment activities for its various strategies. Mr. Okada is a pioneer in the development of the bank loan market and has over 30 years of credit experience. He is responsible for structuring one of the industry’s first arbitrage CLOs and was actively involved in the development of Highland’s bank loan separate account and mutual fund platforms. Mr. Okada received a B.A. in economics and a B.A. in psychology, cum laude, from the University of California, Los Angeles. He has earned the right to use the Chartered Financial Analyst designation. Mr. Okada is a Director of NexBank, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Common Grace Ministries, Inc., is on the Board of Directors for Education is Freedom, and also serves on the GrowSouth Fund Advisory board.

Margaret Spellings
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Margaret Spellings is the president of the George W. Bush Presidential Center. She oversees all aspects of Bush Center activities, including leadership of the George W. Bush Institute, management of Bush Center business operations, and collaboration with the National Archives and Records Administration, which operates the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum.

Previously Spellings was president and CEO of Margaret Spellings and Company, a Washington, D.C. consulting firm that provided strategic guidance to philanthropic and private sector organizations. She also served as a senior advisor to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and was president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation.

Kevin M. Warsh
Kevin M. Warsh serves as Distinguished Visiting Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution and as Lecturer at its Graduate School of Business. In addition, he advises several companies, including serving on the board of directors of UPS.

Governor Warsh served as a member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System from 2006 until 2011.  Warsh served as the Federal Reserve’s representative to the Group of Twenty (G-20) and as the Board’s emissary to the emerging and advanced economies in Asia. In addition, he was Administrative Governor, managing and overseeing the Board’s operations, personnel, and financial performance.

Prior to his appointment to the Board, from 2002 until 2006, Warsh served as Special Assistant to the President for Economic Policy and Executive Secretary of the White House National Economic Council.  Previously, Warsh was a member of the Mergers & Acquisitions department at Morgan Stanley & Co. in New York, serving as Vice President and Executive Director.

Warsh was born in upstate New York. He received his B.A. from Stanford University, and his J.D. from Harvard Law School.

John C. Williams
John C. Williams took office as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco on March 1, 2011. In this role, he serves on the Federal Open Market Committee, bringing the Fed’s Twelfth District’s perspective to monetary policy discussions in Washington.

Dr. Williams was previously the executive vice president and director of research for the San Francisco bank, which he joined in 2002. He began his career in 1994 as an economist at the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, following the completion of his Ph.D. in economics at Stanford University.

Dr. Williams’ research focuses on topics including: monetary policy under uncertainty; innovation; productivity, and business cycles. He has collaborated with economists from throughout the country and across the globe to examine economic and policy issues from different perspectives, and has published numerous articles in leading research journals.

Dr. Williams currently serves as the managing editor of the International Journal of Central Banking. Previously, he served as associate editor of the American Economic Review. Additionally, he served as senior economist at the White House Council of Economic Advisers and as a lecturer at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business.

Prior to completing his doctorate at Stanford, he earned a Master’s of Science with distinction in economics from the London School of Economics in 1989, and a B.A. with high distinction from the University of California at Berkeley in 1984.

Dr. Williams, 51, is a native of Sacramento, California. He is married with two teenage sons and resides in the San Francisco Bay Area.

George Selgin
George Selgin is a Professor of Economics at the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business and a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute.  He is the author of The Theory of Free Banking (Rowman & Littlefield, 1988), Less Than Zero: The Case for a Falling Price Level in a Growing Economy (The Institute of Economic Affairs, 1997), and, most recently, Good Money: Birmingham Button Makers, the Royal Mint, and the Beginnings of Modern Coinage (University of Michigan Press, 2008).  Professor Selgin is also a frequent contributor to the blog, and a co-editor of Econ Journal Watch, an electronic journal devoted to exposing “inappropriate assumptions, weak chains of argument, phony claims of relevance, and omissions of pertinent truths” in the writings of professional economists.