Jim McTague

How much impact does government really have on Wall Street? Lots, if you ask Jim McTague, author of Barron's now-weekly DC Currents.

How much impact does government really have on Wall Street? Lots, if you ask Jim McTague, author of Barron's now-weekly DC Currents.

PRWeek: What is the concept behind DC Current? Jim McTague: The concept is, like it or not, political actions here in DC have a huge impact on your investments and the markets. These days, it's just not [Alan] Greenspan who can roil the markets. Homeland [security] director Tom Ridge can send stocks plunging with some pastel colors. PRWeek: How will you differentiate DC Currents from other outlets that cover the intersection of politics and money? McTague: It will be better written than most other columns. Also, I am not engaged in pure punditry. I dig up the stories myself. So you get a news scoop, unique analysis, and enjoyable commentary. PRWeek: How did you get your start writing about politics/ Wall Street? McTague: I was a political reporter for The Philadelphia Daily News and was sorely underpaid. I decided to become a business writer because their salaries were double what mine was. I could not afford to go back to grad school for an MBA, however. My late wife, Sandy, was pregnant with the third of our four children at the time. I happened to read an article in Philadelphia magazine called "The Heavy Hitters," which I recall was about convicted felons and AWOL Marines who had become commodity brokers and were making $100,000 a year. So I sent a letter to a Merrill Lynch office and offered my services. Merrill Lynch had a marvelous training program. The company graduated me in August 1982, and I became a retail broker. The next month, the market took off, and people were slam-dunking dollar bills into my pockets. I stayed three years ... then foolishly returned to journalism because I love it more than life in the 36% bracket. PRWeek: Are you receptive to being pitched ideas for the column? McTague: It depends on the pitcher. I have relationships with a few PR pros who understand my need for exclusivity and pitch me interviews with tax, finance, or political experts who see something wonderful or ominous afoot in DC. PRWeek: What is your biggest pet peeve about PR people? McTague: Most have never read us and, thus, are pitching ridiculous ideas. Add to this the nefarious, "Did you get my e-mail." PRWeek: How much impact do you feel Washington really has on the economy? McTague: An inordinate amount. Less would be better for us all. PRWeek: Are presidents given too much credit/blame for the economy's performance? McTague: Not at all. Their policies can act like a stimulant or a blow to the head. Jimmy Carter hired Paul Volcker, who whipped inflation. Bill Clinton worked with the GOP Congress to reform welfare. Bush's tax cuts saved the post-9/11 economy from sinking like a stone. Name: Jim McTague Publication: Barron's Title: Washington bureau chief Preferred contact method: jim.mctague@dowjones.comjim.mctague@dowjones.com Website: www.barrons.com

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