New economic adviser for Obama

John Dimsdale Aug 29, 2011
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New economic adviser for Obama

John Dimsdale Aug 29, 2011
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Kai Ryssdal: If history’s any guide, the Irene news is going to fade from the headlines in a couple of days. Attention will turn to the next big thing out there.

In the world of economic policy, that’s a speech the president’s going to give sometime after Labor Day about how to create more jobs. The newest hire at the White House will surely have a hand in what goes into that presidential plan. This morning, Princeton University labor economist Alan Krueger was picked to head the White House Council of Economic Advisers.

Marketplace’s John Dimsdale reports.


John Dimsdale: The Council of Economic Advisers is a think tank of some two dozen economists who put together policy recommendations for an audience of one — the president.

Barack Obama: I rely on the Council of Economic Advisers to provide unvarnished analysis and recommendations — not based on politics, not based on narrow interests, but based on the best evidence.

Greg Mankiw, who was economic adviser for Republican President George W. Bush, thinks Krueger is the right guy for the job.

Greg Mankiw: He’s left of center but I don’t think of him as primarily ideologically driven. I think he’s primarily data-driven.

Krueger is an expert in labor markets, unemployment and worker training. He recently studied how long-term unemployment saps people’s motivation to find a job. Another former presidential economic adviser, Robert Lawrence, says Krueger’s expertise will come in handy.

Robert Lawrence: We need to do two things simultaneously. Stimulate in the short run, but nonetheless, have a policy for reducing both government spending and raising government revenues in the long run. I believe that’s the kind of strategy that someone like Alan Krueger would favor too.

Krueger is a Princeton University economist who’s also spent lots of time in government, says Greg Mankiw.

Mankiw: And he knows Ben Bernanke from the days at Princeton together. So to the extent the Fed and White House have to coordinate, Alan Krueger will be in a perfect position to help facilitate that.

The White House hopes to avoid an ideological confirmation battle, since the Senate already approved Krueger once for a slot at the Treasury Department.

In Washington, I’m John Dimsdale for Marketplace.

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