Frank Bernheisel: The View From Here
Frank Bernheisel
Frank Bernheisel
Posted 2.18.20
Just Outside Washington



A recent Friday was martini night for Paul, John, and I, held at John’s house. Paul was the bartender and he used the olives cured in vodka that I had brought. (Technical note: Martinis are made with gin, shaken not stirred and served up.) Once settled with glass in hand, we had a wide-ranging conversation on the topics of the day.

One centered on the Federal Reserve and their role in managing the economy particularly, countering recessions. We agreed that The Fed was keeping the interest rate (the federal funds rate) too low. The problem being that, while this is boosting the current economy, it is limiting The Fed's ability to counter a future recession.

Needless to say, the conversation gravitated to the behavior of the current administration and the candidates for its replacement. William Barr and the deteriorating independence of the Justice Department was lamented, and it was pointed out that this was not unique; John Kennedy had appointed his brother Robert as Attorney General, compromising the department's independence. President Trump is not the first to act as Attorney General; George Washington ordered the arrest of members of the Whisky Rebellion, who were tried and convicted of treason. Washington later pardoned them.

By the second martini, we had arrived at discussing the many Democratic candidates for president. Consensus was clearly not in Bernie's favor. Paul discussed his current preference, and I offered that I felt he was too young (38 years old) and lacked significant experience as mayor of South Bend, a small city of 101,000. To emphasize my point on age, I suggested each of us discuss when we felt we had been most productive in our careers and done our most significant work.

For background: all three of us are over 50 and have had productive careers; Paul is a communications and electronics engineer, John is an economist and bank regulator/advisor, and I am a management consultant specializing in the waste management and recycling industry. We did a round robin and told our stories. The bottom line was we each felt that we had done our most significant and productive work in our mid 40s.

For me, this reinforced my view that the ideal presidential candidate is not too young, but also, not too old.