Survey: Economists Think Gary Cohn Will Win Fed Chair

Gary Cohn has leapt to the head of the pack of those under consideration to run the Federal Reserve.

As a candidate for president, Donald Trump frequently attacked Hillary Clinton for her connections to the powerful Wall Street firm Goldman Sachs. Yet now Cohn, who was the second highest executive at Goldman before joining the Trump administration,  is the leading candidate to be the next chairman of the Federal Reserve, according to economists surveyed by Bloomberg.

The former Goldman Sachs executive was in fifth place when Bloomberg took asked economists to predict who Trump will appoint to head the Fed when current chair Janet Yellen’s term expires in February. Back then, Yellen herself had the lead spot, with former Fed governor Kevin Warsh, Columbia University professor Glenn Hubbard and Stanford economist John Taylor all beating Cohn.

The idea that Cohn could get the nod has become far more plausible ever since President Donald Trump told the Wall Street Journal on July 25 that Cohn was a top candidate for the Fed post. In the same interview, however, Trump said that he thought Cohn was happy in his current role.

The Bloomberg survey asked economists to rank the three most likely candidates for the Fed chair pick, awarding 3 points to the most likely, two points to the second most likely and one for the third. Cohn’s score went up from 21 in June to 75 in the July 27-28 survey.

This does not mean that Cohn’s nomination is assured. Trump mentioned to the Wall Street Journal that he is still considering re-appointing Yellen and has two or three other candidates in mind. What’s more, Trump’s nominee will have to be approved by the Senate. That’s likely to be a difficult, if not impossible, task given Cohn’s close connections to a number of Goldman scandals.

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