In his final months on the Federal Reserve Board, Henry Wallich got outvoted a lot. His scholarly manner and worldwide perspective did little to convince the growth-focused members with which he was surrounded that inflation - always just around the corner - had to be anticipated and controlled at any cost.
Mr. Wallich took the limits of his influence in stride, and in the good grace that has characterized his tenure there. He would sometimes smile at being a minority of one in recognition that his views were falling on unconvinced ears. The wisdom he acquired through a stellar academic career, a breadth of government service and 12 years on the Federal Reserve Board told him to keep pushing his view, that it was important his ideas be aired.Of course, he was right, and he will be sorely missed both at the board and by the economic community at large. Here at The Journal of Commerce, Mr. Wallich was especially admired and appreciated as a valued contributor to the paper and as a friend. His resignation for health reasons from the Federal Reserve does not end that, of course. Like Paul Volcker, board chairman, we're looking for further contributions to the economic scene from Mr. Wallich, whose health perhaps prohibits the busy schedule of a Fed governor but not the insights for which he has become so well known.
For his part, President Reagan could do a lot worse than to replace Mr. Wallich with a nominee of similar views. It would he hard to find the right combination of international expertise and steadfast inflation-fightin g. It's important that those views continue to have a place at the central bank even if the new nominee, too, is outvoted for awhile.