Subject: Re: Contact
To: Jude Wanniski <firstname.lastname@example.org >
From: Ben S. Bernanke, 1:58 pm, 9/14/2004
Dear Jude: It was nice to talk to you as well. Keep me on your mailing list.
I am not sure about anti-semitism in Lithuania. Of course there was a lot in Russia, nearby, at the time. My grandfather, like yours, left Lithuania around 1917 to avoid military service. My other (paternal) grandfather, Jonas Bernanke, was born in Galicia (now Poland), went to school in Vienna, and ended up serving as a corporal in Franz-Josef's army against the Russians.
Jude Wanniski <email@example.com
To: Ben.Bernanke@* * * * *.gov
Subject: Contact 09/14/2004 02:39 PM
Our meeting was the highlight of my trip to DC. Even including the fact that I ran into Greenspan and his frau at Maureen Dowd's book party at her Georgetown pad. I told him we had spent an hour talking about theory and history and said I was sorry he did not have time to meet with me. I suggested a "reparation" of our relationship or a "reconciliation," as this was the first time I stood next to him since 1997. He allowed as how we might pick things up by telephone. I guess he want to be able to hang up if he doesn't like to hear what I say, but of course I would have no intention of rubbing his nose into some of his mistakes. Greenspan asked me some years back: "Aren't you ever wrong?" I told him I had changed my mind more than anyone I've ever known, a flip-flopper, because I am every day trying to find out the weak spots in my analytical framework.... and this leads me to discarding stuff I believed yesterday because I have found a better way of looking at the way the world works.
The reason I sought you out is that of all the Fed governors I've known, you seem to be the most intellectually curious. And that was borne out in our meeting yesterday. Volcker was also willing to ask lots of questions.... and we also had dinner alone twice a year in all the years he was Fed chairman. If you have a chance to ask him, he will tell you so.
It was also nice to learn we both have Lithuanian forebears. I wondered when I left you if you have any particular knowledge about how your Jewish grandparents were treated by the Lithuanian political establishment. I'd not heard of "anti-Semitism" in Lithuania, but I'd suppose there must have been. But you might enlighten me on that point.
PS I'll send you a piece a wrote about my father on the centennial of his birth that I think you will find most interesting, as it will tell you lots about his oldest son, Jude.