Burns, Arthur F



Arthur Frank Burns (April 27, 1904 in Stanisławów, Galicia (now Ivano-Frankivsk, Ukraine) – June 6, 1987 in Baltimore) was an American economist. He served as Chairman of the Federal Reserve from 1970 to 1978.  Typed Letter Signed, 10/29/1975 -  8 1/2 x 11 with a two-fold signed in blk ink pen overall very fine condition.  

Born in Stanislawow, Galicia, province of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire, Arthur Burns soon immigrated with his Austro-Hungarian Jewish parents to New Jersey. He earned his B.A. and Ph.D (1934) from Columbia University, studying under Wesley Clair Mitchell. His career alternated between academia and government.

He taught at Columbia and studied business cycles while president of the National Bureau of Economic Research. At Columbia, he blocked the acceptance of Murray Rothbard's thesis on the Panic of 1819, despite having known Rothbard since the latter was a child.

 Burns was the chairman of the U.S. Council of Economic Advisors from 1953 to 1956 under Dwight D. Eisenhower's presidency. In 1953, he stated the American economy's "ultimate purpose is to produce more consumer goods." He served as the Chairman of the Federal Reserve from 1970 to 1978 and as ambassador to West Germany from 1981 to 1985.

When Vice President Richard M. Nixon was running for President in 1959–1960, the Fed, under the Truman-appointed William McChesney Martin, Jr., was undertaking a monetary tightening policy that resulted in a recession in April 1960.

 In his book Six Crises, Nixon later blamed his defeat in 1960 in part on Fed policy and the resulting tight credit conditions and slow growth. After finally winning the presidential election of 1968, Nixon named Burns to the Fed Chairmanship in 1970 with instructions to ensure easy access to credit when Nixon was running for reelection in 1972.

During Burns' tenure, the consumer price index rose from 6%/year in early 1970 to over 12%/year in late 1974 after the Arab Oil embargo, and eventually falling to under 7%/year from 1976 to the end of his tenure in January, 1978, with an annual average rate of consumer price inflation of approximately 9% during his term.

Negative economic events included multiple oil shocks (1973 and 1979) and heavy government deficits arising in part from the Vietnam War and Great Society government programs. When he was later asked by a German reporter why he pursued such unsuccessful policies, Burns said "a Fed chairman has to do what the president demands, or 'the central bank would lose its independence.'"

At the Watergate break-in of 1972, the burglars were found carrying $6300 of sequentially-numbered $100 bills. The Fed lied to reporter Bob Woodward as to the source of the bills. Burns stonewalled Congressional investigations about them and issued a directive to all Fed offices prohibiting any discussion of the subject.