Money Master: Arthur F. Burns: 1904-1987

Arthur F. Burns: 1904-1987

Though often thought of as an implacable conservative, Arthur Burns, the Federal Reserve chairman under three Presidents, was most of all an economic pragmatist. While the pipe-smoking Burns, who died last week at 83 of complications following triple-bypass heart surgery, sometimes veered from being the crusty advocate of fiscal restraint to being a cautious fueler of the money supply, he always regarded inflation as the chief economic enemy of a democracy.

A native of Austria, Burns taught at Columbia University for two decades until 1953, when he was picked by Dwight Eisenhower to head his Council of Economic Advisers. Burns' most...