Big economic news came this week when President Obama announced his pick to be the next Treasury Secretary -- Jack Lew. Besides the whole signature hoopla, Lew's selection indicates more budget-focused economic policies for Obama's second term.
"He took a burning building and he put it out," he says. "He is a debt crisis manager...so those skills were incredibly useful. At the beginning of 2009 when the economy was just plunging -- and it was much worse than anyone had thought; people thought that unemployment would go up a little bit, it went up a lot -- there were big sovereignty questions about the banks, and he was there to put out the fires and to do a lot of unusual things and get it right."
But looking ahead?
"If you look at Jack Lew's skill set and his resume and everything, it's much more budget-focused," says Catherine Rampell of the New York Times. "His expertise is much more in fiscal issues. He did spent a short stint in finance -- and he has a lot of critics for that now who seem to be coming out of the woodwork. But he is very much associated with budget issues as opposed to finance, and I think that really reflects the shifting priorities of the administration at this point."
Meanwhile, there's also been the chatter this week about the proposal to mint a trillion dollar coin to fix the U.S.'s debt ceiling problem. Listen to the full audio above for more analysis on the trillion dollar coin.
Plus the financial journalists offer their suggestions for reads this weekend.
Rampell offers these picks:
- A long-ish profile from last fall on Jack Lew.
- A question: Why is Ben Bernanke the only man in Washington who seems to be doing anything about job growth?
- The social and budgetary impacts of treating prison inmates for heroin addiction.
And Salmon has these:
- Justin Fox in the Harvard Business Review on the end of the reign of economists.
- Michelle Conlin on the foreclosure horror with an undead title.
- Foreign Policy's Rick Rowden on the myth of Africa's rise.