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A Fed Wannabe Feels Students' Sting
Lampoon Is a Hit on the Net

By Nell Henderson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, April 27, 2006

Who says business school isn't fun? At Columbia University, that MBA crowd is a crack-up.

Just check out the music video created by Columbia Business School students lampooning their dean's disappointment at not being chosen to succeed Alan Greenspan as Federal Reserve chairman.

That's what Fed staff across the country were doing yesterday, eagerly e-mailing the video's Internet link to share the sight: The school's dean, R. Glenn Hubbard -- or rather, a tall, thin, bespectacled, nerdy Hubbard look-alike in a suit and tie -- playing the guitar and singing lyrics of lament to the tune of the Police's hit "Every Breath You Take" (the link is here).

A sample, sung as a warning to the Fed's new chairman, Ben S. Bernanke:

Every breath you take, Every change of rate,

Jobs you don't create, While we still stagflate,

I'll be watching you.

Every single day, Bernanke takes my pay,

When growth goes away, inflation will stay,

And I'll be watching you.

And:

Oh can't you see, the Fed's where I should be,

How my poor heart aches, at each mistake you make.

Hubbard and Bernanke, both Republican economists, have been long acquainted. They were familiar with each other's research during their academic careers. Both are former chairmen of President Bush's Council of Economic Advisers. Both were among the top rivals for the nomination to succeed Greenspan.

The video shows someone off camera throwing darts at a target with Bernanke's face at the center and portrays the Hubbard look-alike pulling a fake beard off a Bernanke-like character. There are even jokes about basis points and the Treasury yield curve.

For Fed humor, it was hilarious.

Hubbard thought so, said John Kiker, the business school's associate dean for marketing and communication.

"He was on the ground laughing so hard" when he saw the video a week ago at the school's "Follies," an annual show of satirical skits, songs and videos, said Kiker, who was in the audience as well. Hubbard "stood up after the video and got a standing ovation, so it was cool. . . . The students love him."

Hubbard, responding to a request for comment by e-mail, wrote of his students, "I hope they will be as talented at raising productivity growth as in video making!"

Bernanke, known during his White House days as quite the jokester himself, had no comment.

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