The Nominee for the Chairman of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers

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I will be the first to admit I’m not “in the loop” on the President’s thinking on who will be Chairman (I’m guessing it’ll be a guy) of the Council of Economic Advisers, but (as a former CEA staffer), I’m intrinsically curious three weeks into the new Administration who it will be — a curiosity heightened by the President’s 3AM call to National Security Adviser General Flynn on the dollar’s role, as well as the announcement of VP Pence’s chief economist.

Anybody have any insights? (I think this is called a “bleg” in the vernacular).

Update, 4pm Pacific: The Hill discusses.

Previous coverage has mentioned Larry Kudlow and Kevin Hassett. Demoting CEA Chair from cabinet level hardly seems like a good way to recruit.

13 thoughts on “The Nominee for the Chairman of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers

  1. Bruce Hall

    I think you would be a good choice… seriously. The economy is extremely complicated and dynamic and it needs a variety of input and viewpoints from academia to international businesses to small business. It’s the conjunction of theory and practice where smoke clouds appear. Trump needs someone who provides a strong counterpoint, even if he chooses to ignore it. We all have some degree of preconceived notions concerning “what is best.”

    I suspect, however, that he will select someone who will reinforce his views. In today’s political climate, opposing views are too often voiced in screaming protests or buffoon mockery. One would hope that economists could offer advise in a non-condescending, non-confrontational way that point to reasonably expect outcomes for different choices. I don’t know the definition of a “good businessman”, but I know one when I see one. They usually are open to reasoned discussion. If Trump is a good businessman, he should be open to reasoned discussion about business and the economy.

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  2. rjs

    i haven’t been following this particular appointment, but i’ve been online 15 hours a day since the inauguration trying to keep up with the news, and i am under the impression he now intends to go without one… (after all, he knows better)

    early on, Larry Kudlow was supposedly the guy, but i havent seen his name mentioned in weeks…

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  3. Richard Miller

    Given his past performance in selecting cabinet members, I expect it will be someone who either knows exactly zip about economics, or possibly someone happy to ride a hobbyhorse to the exclusion of all else–a gold bug, perhaps, or someone convinced that the key to economic development is requiring schools to teach Palmer script. Or both.

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    1. Steven Kopits

      You’d probably want Dimon at Treasury. I doubt he would serve in a Trump administration.

      Hubbard, Cochrane come to mind for the CEA. According to MR, the CEA head will not be in the cabinet.

      I think we’ll see the Trump administration try to re-invent the wheel in a number of areas, eventually to discover that the existing wheel was round for a reason.

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      1. baffling

        “I think we’ll see the Trump administration try to re-invent the wheel in a number of areas, eventually to discover that the existing wheel was round for a reason.”

        agreed. trumps confidence is greater than his intellect, and probably leads us down this path. in some regards, it will lead to time wasting for his administration, which may slow some of the damage done. but it also leads to mistakes that others in this country will pay the price for, until the proper path is “discovered”.

        trump fails to understand why government bureaucracy exists. it is not necessarily a result of government incompetence, as many folks want to argue. it is the result of competing interests with no ability to win the battle. this can be cleaned up quickly running your own company, which trump is accustomed to. but closing down a government agency-a trump solution- can have significant long term consequences in which he does not even consider. this will probably frustrate trump tremendously. his lack of understanding on why you cannot simply rush through an executive order without considering all consequences is an example. checks and balances are for presidents, not kings!

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  4. Bruce Hall

    As I commented earlier, while Trump would benefit from a counterpoint adviser, I think he will gravitate toward agreement. Someone like  Peter Navarro or Peter Morici would be in that mold… if he chose to select an economist. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if he chose an active or retired executive from the financial world.

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  5. baffling

    “if he chose to select an economist. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if he chose an active or retired executive from the financial world.”
    the problem with an executive is not their knowledge of economics. the issue is, they are trained not to create a bigger pie for everybody, but to create a bigger slice of the existing pie for themselves (or their company). that is their job description. this is why many folks are concerned with executive types having these economic advising roles. their view of growing the entire pie ends up to be some variant of trickle down theory.

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    1. Bruce Hall

      Baffling

      I can’t tell if you are serious or just looking for laughs.

      the problem with an executive is not their knowledge of economics. the issue is, they are trained not to create a bigger pie for everybody, but to create a bigger slice of the existing pie for themselves (or their company).

      I guess we can ignore all of those visionaries who have created massive technology sectors where none existed. Gates, Jobs, Page and Brin, Musk ….
      And that’s just one sector of the economy. So, are you saying they didn’t create bigger pies for everyone?

      Sure, executives want to increase the size and wealth of their companies, but a blanket statement that they don’t increase the size of the economy because of their innovations and the new businesses that use their innovations is a little disingenuous (or blindly political). Executives understand the practical side of the economy. That may not be enough, but it is part of the equation.

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  6. baffling

    bruce, i did not say an executive cannot grow the economy-you are looking to argue. however, i will point out those visionaries are not “active or retired executive from the financial world.”

    we were both talking about executives with background in the financial world-ie they should have some education in the discipline of economics and finance. not manufacturing and technology.

    the job description of these executives is to grow their own company. if the overall pie grows in the process, fine, as long as their company is growing. if the overall pie does not grow, but they increase market share, that is also acceptable. they never have primary goal of growing the overall pie itself-it is a secondary concern to their job description. if the pie grows, but they lose market share and the company stays stagnant-they are out of a job.

    as i said, their training and work experience has a different goal than what a nation as a whole needs. that does not mean they cannot accomplish the goal. but it does often mean their own experience and the needed qualifications for the job are not completely aligned.

    Reply

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