That sound you hear is the collective voice of inchoate rage coming from behind the doors of economics professors throughout the land.
The Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis has named former banker, government official and unsuccessful California gubernatorial candidate Neel Kashkari to become its new president and chief executive officer.
You guys remember Neel, right? He was the guy from Goldman (NYSE: GS) that Hank Paulson tapped to come to Treasury and help execute the TARP program during the dark days of 2008. He was also the dude that ran against Jerry Brown for governor of California. He's the one who's not an economist.
Yeah, that guy. He's going to be president of a Federal Reserve.
But if you think you're surprised, get a load of the Wall Street Journal:
Mr. Kashkari’s views on central bank interest-rate policy aren't publicly known. He’s not an economist, beginning his career as an aerospace engineer working on space missions before earning an M.B.A. at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. He’s an alumnus of investment bank Goldman Sachs and investment fund Pacific Investment Management Co., or Pimco.
Basically the WSJ is saying that he doesn't meet the one major requirement often looked for in a Fed president, but hey, he's a rocket scientist who worked at Goldman and managed to put up with Bill Gross' sh!t, so...
But in addition to having no training as an economist - and that whole thing about how running for elected office as a member of a political party usually knocks you out of the running for a Fed gig - it appears that Kashkari is also a little weak on his Minneapolis knowledge.
An Ohio native, Mr. Kashkari moved to California in 1997. He’s in the process of relocating to the Minneapolis area. He said he’s a big fan of outdoor activities and a lifelong Michael Jackson enthusiast.
While there is a lot do in the wilds of Minnesota, an affinity for Michael Jackson is not something usually associated with Minneapolis. However Michael's pop contemporary Prince is a Minneapolis native who is virtually synonymous with the city.
So, maybe Kashkari got confused about his pop stars, or perhaps he thinks that he is about become president of the Federal Reserve of Gary, Indiana.
Either way, we very much like the idea of Janet Yellen ditching Kashkari by the side of the road in his new hometown, peeling away on her motorcycle and muttering "That ain't Lake Minnetonka."