Monday, August 09, 2010

Informative post on how economics gets processed in the White House

by Keith Hennessey.

This is what he says about differences between how things work between the Obama administration and its predecessors:

I can see at least three obvious structural differences between the way the Obama economic team operates and the way we did during the Bush 43 tenure:

* President Obama meets with a few of his principal economic advisors daily. Gut reaction: this is both a blessing and a curse. President Bush met with different configurations of his advisors as needed, rather than with the same group each morning. During normal times this averaged 2-3 meetings with the President per week. During the financial crisis it was almost every day, and sometimes more than once on a busy day.
* The proliferation of White House czars means that economic policy processes and decision-making are more dispersed in the Obama White House. As best I can tell, NEC did not run the health policy process for President Obama in 2009-2010, nor the cap-and-trade policy process, as it did during the Bush era. You can decide whether that’s good or bad.
* The current NEC Director has previously served as Treasury Secretary and is a leading academic economist in his own right and would be extremely well qualified to chair the CEA. This makes him at least a potential threat to both Secretary Geithner and the CEA Chair, and it means that everyone needs to work extra hard to make sure their roles are understood and that they can function together as a team.

UPDATE: Scott Sumner wonders "if this means Obama will not go along with attempts to extend the Bush tax cuts?" in a post entitled "Is Larry Summers the Dick Cheney of the Obama Administration?"

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