Glenn Hubbard, the dean of Columbia Business School and an economic adviser to Mitt Romney, said the chairman of the Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke, "gets paid nothing."
The comments, made in an interview with Reuters (link via Economic Policies for the 21st Century), run the risk of reinforcing the image promoted by the Obama campaign that Mr. Romney and his team as so wealthy as to be out of touch with the economic realities of mainstream Americans. Mr. Bernanke's salary for 2012 is $199,700, which is enough to put him in the top 5% of American income-earners.
Mr. Bernanke also almost certainly gets a government-provided car and driver, and the Federal Reserve bank web site lists a range of other benefits, including health, dental, and vision insurance and an on-site fitness center. He has use of a private dining room at his office, which has some value.
The full comment from Mr. Hubbard, according to Reuters, is that "Ben is a model technocrat. He gets paid nothing for getting kicked around all the time. I think they ought to pat him on the back." The dean also reportedly said Mr. Bernanke should "get every consideration" when it comes to being reappointed to another term as Federal Reserve chairman.
The comment on reappointing Mr. Bernanke may trigger concerns that Mr. Romney is changing his position. During the primary season, Mr. Romney responded to a question about whether he'd reappoint Mr. Bernanke by saying, "I'd be looking for somebody new." If Mr. Romney remains opposed to reappointing Mr. Bernanke, Mr. Hubbard's comments are an unusual example of a presidential campaign adviser publicly differing with the candidate he is advising.