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Obama Rolls Out Economic Team

Posted on Nov 24, 2008

To fix the ailing economy, Barack Obama has turned to two men who helped break it. On Monday, the president-elect announced Timothy Geithner as his choice for treasury secretary, and Giethner’s former mentor in the Clinton Treasury Department, Lawrence Summers, as his pick to head the White House Economic Council.

Summers was Bill Clinton’s treasury secretary when that president signed off on the massive deregulation at the heart of the current crisis. Geithner was his deputy at the time.

Obama also named Christina D. Romer and Melody Barnes to lead his Council of Economic Advisers and White House Domestic Policy Council, respectively.

The president-elect will fill out the rest of his team during a briefing on Tuesday.

Obama’s announcement:

Today, Vice President-elect Biden and I are pleased to announce the nomination of four individuals who meet these criteria to lead our economic team: Timothy Geithner as Secretary of the Treasury; Lawrence Summers as the Director of our National Economic Council; Christina Romer as Chair of the Council of Economic Advisors; and Melody Barnes as Director of the Domestic Policy Council.

Having served in senior roles at Treasury, the IMF and the New York Fed, Tim Geithner offers not just extensive experience shaping economic policy and managing financial markets, but an unparalleled understanding of our current economic crisis, in all of its depth, complexity and urgency. Tim will waste no time getting up to speed. He will start his first day on the job with a unique insight into the failures of today’s markets—and a clear vision of the steps we must take to revive them.

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By Allan Gurfinkle, November 25, 2008 at 5:03 am Link to this comment
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You can google up Romer’s article that I referenced in the previous post, as well as an invited lecture in 2007 titled ‘The Causes and Consequence of a Mistaken Revolution’... and find out that she is completely disconnected from anything resembling US economics of the last 20 years.

The great Dean Baker quote is from a Chomsky interview, which also includes this line on Obama’s econ advisors ... “Their career records were reviewed in the business press and Bloomberg News had an article reviewing their records and concluded that most of these people shouldn’t be giving advice about the economy. They should be given subpoenas.”

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By cyrena, November 25, 2008 at 3:16 am Link to this comment

Well, here’s more on Christina Romer, and it’s true…she had nothing to do with the failures. (aside from possibly what all other academics have done…warn and find themselves ignored, so they watch in dismay, and wait for a time to hopefully stop the destruction.)

From the LA Times:

“Associates praised Romer, 49, as a knowledgeable and tough-minded expert who can be expected to work well with other members of Obama’s team as his administration attempts to overcome the country’s economic crisis.

“She’s a great choice,” said Harvard University economics professor Gregory Mankiw, who chaired the economic council from 2003 to 2005 and is a longtime friend of Romer’s. “She’s a very good economist, a great public speaker, and . . . brings to the table an understanding of history that most economists don’t have.”

Nobel Prize-winning UC Berkeley economics professor Daniel McFadden, who taught Romer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the early 1980s, also applauded her selection.

He said her historical perspective would be of great help as the Obama administration tries to halt the nation’s economic slide.

“She understands in great detail what went wrong in the 1930s and what government policies were ineffective,” McFadden said.

“I would describe her as a modern macro-economist who understands the power and the limits of the government to affect the economy,” he said. “She has a sophisticated and nuanced view of what economic policy would do.”

Romer’s husband, David, also is an economics professor at UC Berkeley, and the two have long worked closely together, often co-authoring research papers. David Romer, like his wife, is a specialist in monetary policy. They have taught at the university for 20 years.

“They are a very close-knit team and work together on their research,” McFadden said. “President Obama is getting two for the price of one.”,0,4872690.story?track=rss

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By Allan Gurfinkle, November 24, 2008 at 9:21 pm Link to this comment
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Well, at least Christina Romer is not one of those responsible for the Wall Street meltdown.  What is her role?  A little googling reveals that her main contribution to the dismal science is the inescapable conclusion that “tax increases are highly contractionary”*, i.e., Reagan was right.

*The Macroeconomic Effect of Tax Changes: Estimates Based on a New Measure of Fiscal Shocks, 11/08

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By P. T., November 24, 2008 at 8:28 pm Link to this comment

Economist Dean Baker said it is like putting Osama bin Laden in charge of the war on terror.

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