Paul McCracken led the Council of Economic Advisors under RN. (Corbis)Paul McCracken led the Council of Economic Advisors under RN. (Corbis)

Paul W. McCracken 1915-2012

President Nixon's chief economic adviser dies at 96.

    Paul W. McCracken, the Chairman of President Nixon’s Council of Economic Advisers died yesterday. He was 96.

    Before assuming his role as RN’s chief economist in 1969, Dr. McCracken served on the CEA in the Eisenhower administration, was a professor at the University of Michigan business school, and an advisor to Presidents Kennedy and Johnson.

    In 1971, when the aftershocks of the Vietnam War and Great Society spending caused inflation to soar to 5 percent, President Nixon summoned McCracken and the other top principals of his economic staff to construct a “New Economic Policy,” abate the monetary crisis, and stabilize the dollar with respect to other currencies.

    “During the most difficult hours of my first term … I came to depend on Paul both for his incisive intellect and his hard-headed pragmatism,” RN later wrote about Dr. McCracken. “He was a key adviser during a crucial time in our nation’s history.”

    He is survived by his daughters Linda Langer and Paula McCracken.

    The Ann Arbor News has more:

    McCracken was a moderate Republican and a “wide-ranging thinker,” the newspaper said, who believed government should take an “active role in moderating business cycles, balancing inflation and unemployment, and helping the disadvantaged.” The university announced his death in a press release Friday.

    Nixon, writing in 1985, praised McCracken’s efforts during his administration, the university said.

    “During the most difficult hours of my first term … I came to depend on Paul both for his incisive intellect and his hard-headed pragmatism. He was a key adviser during a crucial time in our nation’s history.”

    At the Ross School of Business, McCracken was the Edmund Ezra Day Distinguished University Professor (Emeritus) of Business Administration, Economics, and Public Policy, and kept regular hours at the school well after retiring. Until recently he was a fixture in the school’s common area, the Davidson Winter Garden, where he conversed with students and faculty.

    “Professor McCracken was a national treasure, and we were fortunate to have him at Ross for so many years,” Alison Davis-Blake, dean of the school, said in the press release. “We’re deeply saddened by his passing. Not only was he an excellent scholar, he was a worldly adviser who shared his wisdom with presidents in the White House and with students and colleagues in the Winter Garden.”