The New Economic Team?

As of 11/29. Can you tell a difference?

Corrections to Goodspeed (to actg chair), Vought (delete actg) 11/30.


Necessarily incomplete, and preliminary, based upon this article from The Hill. Note that John Cornyn has indicated his objection to Tanden to OMB.

All is summed up by Mnuchin to Yellen, Hasset to Rouse, Kudlow to Roger Ferguson or Brian Deese…


Addendum: Google Scholar – top cited articles/chapter (books otherwise):

Janet Yellen: Akerlof, George A., and Janet L. Yellen. “The fair wage-effort hypothesis and unemployment.” The Quarterly Journal of Economics 105.2 (1990): 255-283. 2800 cites

Cecilia Rouse: Goldin, Claudia, and Cecilia Rouse. “Orchestrating impartiality: The impact of” blind” auditions on female musicians.” American economic review 90.4 (2000): 715-741. 1824 cites

Heather Boushey: Boushey, Heather. ““Opting out?” The effect of children on women’s employment in the United States.” Feminist Economics 14.1 (2008): 1-36. 154 cites.

Jared Bernstein: Mishel, Lawrence R., Jared Bernstein, and Sylvia A. Allegretto. The state of working America 2006/2007. Cornell University Press, 2006. 548 cites.

Neera Tanden: Emanuel, Ezekiel, et al. “A systemic approach to containing health care spending.” (2012): 949-954. 205 cites.

Roger Ferguson: Ferguson, Roger W. “Should financial stability be an explicit central bank objective.” Challenges to Central Banking from Globalized Financial Systems (2003): 208-223. 267 cites.

Brian Deese: Birdsall, Nancy, John Williamson, and Brian Deese. Delivering on debt relief: From IMF gold to a new aid architecture. Peterson Institute, 2002. 199 cites.




90 thoughts on “The New Economic Team?

  1. Not Trampis

    looks good at the start but who will the others be.
    If Tanden is voted against can Biden leave her in the position ‘temporally or something like that.

    1. pgl

      Neera Tanden has strongly advocated the House bill to provide broad and strong stimulus. At times, she has criticized Senate Republicans for blocking this much needed stimulus. So what are these same shameless Senate Republicans about her being the OBM director? They are whining she was MEAN to them.

      Pardon my French but what a bunch of pu$$ies. Screw Cornyn and McConnell. This is a fight that Biden must carry through.

      1. baffling

        trump has shown you can create a parallel, shadow government outside of congressional approval. republicans have approved of this shadow government over the last 4 years. just name the positions after kushner, ivana and others working in the white house with no congressional approval. even rick stryker can’t gripe against these new shadow positions.

    1. pgl

      Center for American Progress head Neera Tanden for head of OMB is not bad either. And we were told by the all seeing (cough, cough) JohnH that OMB was going to be run by some center right corrupt crook.

      1. JohnH

        While it’s not clear that Tanden knows anything about management and budgets, her hostility toward progressives and loyalty to the Blue Dog Clinton faction are beyond doubt.

        It looks like a promising four years to write about how Democrats posture left and act right, treating with cavalier hypocrisy the issues that matter most to the Democratic base and to working Americans. But corporate America will be happy, and that’s all that matters these days, isn’t it?

        1. Barkley Rosser

          She is being strongly supported by some pretty progressive and well-informed people in DC, including Dean Baker and Elizabeth Warren.

          1. pgl

            People who have worked with her say her skill sets are quite up to the job. But leave it to JohnH to question that as Johnny boy tries to figure out the same of 2 plus 2.

        2. pgl

          “While it’s not clear that Tanden knows anything about management and budgets”

          This is from the kids who cannot even count the number of blocks in the sand box. Hey – Johnny boy, the other kids are laughing AT you.

      2. JohnH

        Warren praised Tanden for being from Bedford, MA. Wow!

        And Baker praised her for being an effective insider. Of course, Dick Cheney was an effective insider, too. But what he got done was anathema to me.

        Neither praised Tandan’s political orientation.

        1. pgl

          You do realize that everyone here has already figured out: (a) you lie a lot, and (b) you are BORING.

          Could you find another blog to pollute with your worthless rants?

        2. Barkley Rosser

          Sorry, JohnH, this is serious bs. Your final comment is just an outright lie.

          From p. A6 of today’s WaPo, here is Dean Baker on Neera Tanden: “She’ll be well-situated to play hard. Tanden is obviously an inside player, but she has been around Washington and will be smart in pushing stuff in ways to get through.”

          There is no comment from Warren about Bedford, MA. There is this: “But several prominent liberal policymatkers and economists, including Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass), as well as Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif) defended Tanden on Monday.”

          Here is Barney Frank: “You need people with toughness. Neera has that. She knows what she’s doing. She understands the politics.”

          Then there is this: “Part of Tanden’s appeal to Biden’s team is her wide range of experience to leading the CAP, which is one of the largest think tanks in Washington and deals with national security, domestic security and economic policy – all areas the OMB director oversees according to a person familiar with the transition.”

          Finally there is this: “Tanden also oversaw the creation of a liberal coalition group called Hands Off, devoted to fighting Republican efforts to cut social programs such as food stamps. CAP helpied spearhead the charge against many of the changes pushed through by Trump’s budget office, including policies designed to make it harder for immigrants to secure government assistance and rules limiting governmental regulations. Her allies say that experience makes her almost uniquely well-suited to roll back many of the steps taken by the Trump administration.”

          Looks pretty good to me. What is your problem, JohnH?

        3. Menzie Chinn Post author

          JohnH: You are wrong, re: Warren. From The Hill – tweet from Sherrod Brown that Elizabeth Warren re-tweeted “I agree”:

          “Neera Tanden is smart, experience, and qualified for the position of OMB Director.:

          Entire quote from WaPo:

          “She’ll be well-situated to play hard,” said Dean Baker, a liberal economist. “Tanden is obviously an inside player, but she has been around Washington and will be smart on pushing stuff in ways that get through.”

          Seemed like a positive assessment to me.

    2. pgl

      Boushey’s “The importance of raising the minimum wage to boost broad-based U.S. economic growth” (May 10, 2017) is a must read.

      I would even recommend it to those fools who wrote that silly NYTimes oped. Boushey is certainly a better labor economist than Jack Snow.

  2. Barkley Rosser

    Oh, and Heather and Jared are both well known for strongly supporting higher minimum wages. Of course, if GOP controls the Senate the Biden proposals to raise them will be going nowhere.

  3. Dr. Dymalist

    Let’s see …

    Not counting the Fed, in broad strokes I see going from vacant, unqualified, crazy, or corrupt to highly qualified, experienced and sane. I don’t know, you think that’ll make a difference?

  4. formereconomist

    I look at your blog for the first time in six months and i see errors in fact. Goodspeed is acting chair, and Vought was confirmed over the summer.

    Cornyn won’t be the only one to object to Tanden; she has a pretty full history of tweeting that Republicans differ not just on grounds of policy but are “evil.” So much unity and healing! And with Sanders due to rank on the Budget committee, Tanden at OMB might encounter resistance from within the Democratic party as well.

      1. Moses Herzog

        My question is, is a Bachelor of Arts degree and Juris Doctor the background you want for OMB??? How on Earth does that fit the bill?? Happy to be educated here. Unless the job is largely just communications I don’t see how Tanden compares to say someone like a Peter Orszag?? How on planet Earth does that appointment make ANY sense??

        This screams bad judgement. I never said senile in this comment. I said extremely poor judgement.

        1. Menzie Chinn Post author

          Moses Herzog: Just remember, Paul Volcker had (gasp) a Master’s in Public Administration. Half (I’d say at least) of what OMB does involves legal/regulatory issues.

          1. pgl

            Alan Greenspan was Ford’s chief economic adviser but NYU did not grant him a Ph.D. in economics until 1977. Then again Ford and his stupid WIN buttons gave us a recession so I’m not saying Greenspan was the best of economic advisers back then.

          2. Moses Herzog

            Your latter point is legitimate. So on that single point, I’ll score you a “win”. As much hassle and “pain in the A**” I am to you in your duties as a blog host, you know I have boatloads of respect for you Menzie. But comparing Neera Tanden to Paul Volcker in the numbers dept?? I have zero biases here Menzie, Paul Volcker scored a basketball “assist” on my father going bankrupt on a motel in the early ’80s.

            I don’t think comparing Neera Tanden to Paul Volcker is going to help her much. She’s “dead in the water” before she even goes up on Capitol Hill, and I’ll tell you something else Menzie, this verifies everything JohnH and I were trying to point out yesterday, it spells out poor communication and a neon sign that says “failed appointment” about 5 milliseconds after they made the announcement. Why nominate someone who A Isn’t qualified for the job she’s getting B Doesn’t stand a popsicle’s chance in hell of getting confirmed.

          3. baffling

            “Why nominate someone who A Isn’t qualified for the job she’s getting B Doesn’t stand a popsicle’s chance in hell of getting confirmed.”
            sometimes there is a sacrificial lamb needed to push through other nominations down the road. she is competent, but perhaps not electable. maybe other, future, nominees are more electable because of the stink raised today? i think biden knows she may be controversial. the cynic in me says there will be a price to pay for disparaging a minority female in the senate. call it the accumulation of political capital for the future. but raising a stink about her over the next month will not help republicans in the very important georgia runoffs in january.

          4. macroduck

            As much as any large executive branch agency, OMB “executes” policy made by Congress. OMB can be used as a policy battlefield, but the role it was created to fill is not a policy making one. Neither policy chops nor a degree in economics matter all that much for the OMB director.

            Spring Guidance requires a bit of economic knowledge, but staff do the work. What is needed at OMB is a strong manager with extensive knowledge of federal government operation.

        2. pgl

          Peter Orszag is a good economist but that would mean he should be in a role that involves some actual economics. It is a big White House – so we need all such of talent to get the job done.

        3. 2slugbaits

          Moses Herzog OMB is all about budget planning, programming and execution (“execution” is a governmenteese term for “spending”). Budget planning means taking budget projections from the various departments and rolling them up into a consolidated plan. Programming means moving authorizations into special accounting limits that can be tracked as each program is executed. It’s really an accounting job, but you also have to know the byzantine rules associated with government rules and regulations. Someone with a CPA and a JD would be a good candidate for the deputy level position. The director needs to be someone who is both close to the President and fluent with the OMB bureaucracy.

        1. Menzie Chinn Post author

          Moses Herzog: Not sure why – is she a close friend of the Bidens, or has she a business interest that the Biden administration is likely to direct contracts to? Or are you asserting cronyism because (i) Tanden is in your view unqualified, or (ii) Center for American Progress is too centrist to be a legitimate influence in the administration?

          1. Moses Herzog

            @ Menzie
            I’m not saying Tanden has a bad education, you obviously know her education exceeds mine. But I am saying her educational background is unsuitable for the specific job of head of OMB. I could add other comments there related to WH jobs she IS suitable for, but those comments will be misconstrued so I will let that be. I don’t view CAP as too “centrist”. More like a money making operation (scam??) that isn’t transparent enough about its funding, which hands out jobs to people. To do….. (???)

            My cronyism charge relates to her using her connections in the Democrat party to get appointed to a job she is neither suitable for, nor should have been flown up the flagpole (for obvious political reasons) “from the get go”. She’s going to be, how to say it in a “polite” way?? EXCORIATED




            Now, Menzie, I know your intelligence level is about 5 standard deviations above mine (no sarcasm, I spot you what you deserve). I’m gonna ask you a question that reads like it was written for someone with the intelligence of CoRev or Ed Hanson. After everything “JohnH” and I were trying to express recently about Democrats poor communication, do you feel it wise to appoint a person who is connected to the Hillary Clinton email/server scandal as Head of OMB??? Do you deem that an “astute move”??

      2. Formereconomist

        I’m not sure what your point was? If there was one, it was elliptic, and I don’t have time for hermeneutics today.

          1. Formereconomist

            “From Mnuchin to Yellen..” is elliptic and requires unpacking, and I would not like to put words in your mouth.

          2. Barkley Rosser

            It’s all about those “signature” upturned collars of Yellen’s. Yes, pretty elliptical, if not quite fully hermeneutical.

    1. pgl

      What a hit job on Neera Tanden. I’m calling you out for suggesting she called Republican “evil”. Provide a reliable link to that or retract it.

      Look I did Google her name and evil and all I got was some hit job from Business Insider that made claims she was a bad manager as some woman who worked for her claimed sexual harassment and was not satisfied how this was investigated. Of course the current President is the poster child for sexual harassment and nothing comes of it.

      Made a claim like that – be prepared to back it up with facts.

        1. Moses Herzog

          ” her most immediate problem is a very modern one: a Twitter account that has often lashed Republican senators. Perhaps mindful of that, she appears to have deleted more than 1,000 tweets over the past two weeks, but that may have only further fueled Republican acrimony.”

          Careful Formereconomist when you disagree with pgl on matters that are easily provable and factual, this is the part in the thread where pgl tells you you don’t “get” it, because any and all who disagree just cannot “grasp” his great labor economist leaps (empty caverns??) in logic. Not to mention the fact if TPM hasn’t copy/pasted this from Politico yet with another “reporter’s” byline this will all be fresh news to him.

        2. pgl

          Twitter! Look if you do not get that hurting immigrants the way that Trump has done is EVIL then you have no soul.

          1. Moses Herzog

            @ pgl
            Then just leave it at that, she said something that is true. There’s no need to add the ladylike melodrama saying it’s “slander” when her words are on the record.

            I don’t even like the woman. But that part of her “background” doesn’t bother me. I have more problems with the Twitter deletions than what she said. But again, it’s DUMB to nominate someone who goes off like that in emails (connected to the Hillary email mess) and twitter for a job like that, on top of the fact she’s not qualified. You know I don’t particularly enjoy butting bull horns with Menzie, but the reality is, his argument qualifies to “Any agency should be headed by someone with a law degree because government agencies have to follow regulations”. It would be ridiculous at the Federal Reserve (and Menzie would have a conniption fit if they chose someone with Bachelor of Arts and a law degree to head the Fed) and it’s equally ridiculous or worse to put someone with a law degree at head of OMB. You put lawyers “on staff” (deputy like positions possibly), you don’t put them at the head of a numbers/accounting department. SORRY~~~my personal view is that is asinine.

          2. Menzie Chinn Post author

            Moses Herzog: Historically, most Fed officials (FOMC members) have not been credentialed economists. Jay Powell has BA politics (Princeton), JD (Georgetown). I don’t know many mainstream macroeconomists who believe he is unqualified.

            Let me re-iterate: a very large part of what OMB does is not interpreting the regulations, but rather writing the regulations.

          3. Moses Herzog

            @ Menzie
            Let me ask you this question. And I am counting on your objectivity and neutrality in looking at an issue (which I believe you have 98% of the time). Just pretend you’re not a proud Democrat and that you like Biden in a general way for about 5–10 minutes and answer me this (yes, somewhat “conditionalized”) question:

            Pretend Tanden hasn’t been nominated for the job by Biden. That she is just “out there” on a list of maybe good people. We can even take out the fact that Tanden did the emails and tweets. That’s “wiped clean” and it never happened. So we’re giving her a “hypothetical” hygienic record on Tweets/emails. Say she is a model citizen on Twitter even handing Republicans a mild compliment here and there. Now, look at her education, her CV, and job history. Do you think it makes more sense to make her head of “OIRA” (Paul J. Ray currently inhabits, Cass Sunstein has been there) based on your argument, or would you make her head of OMB?? Which of those two jobs is more logical for her based on her education and background?? PhD Menzie Chinn gets to be President of the USA for one day on December 1, 2020. You putting Tanden as head of OMB, or head of “OIRA”???

          4. Barkley Rosser

            Sorry, Moses, but her experience helping write the ACA law and running the CAP that deals with a wide variety of issues makes her extremely well qualified to run the OMB. This is according to people like Dean Baker and Barney Frank, along with a lot of others.

            You do not know what you are talking about, Moses, although I understand that you have lost your mental “dexterity” due to having interacted with me, you poor thing.

    2. baffling

      ” she has a pretty full history of tweeting that Republicans differ not just on grounds of policy but are “evil.””
      should that disqualify her? i have heard worse coming from the mouths of some republican senators and house members.
      it has been pretty clear over the past 4 years that those types of comments should not impact the senates ability to confirm. why are we now changing the rules?

      1. pgl

        You know Trump goes off when a reporter asks him a tough question even if he attacks people with all sorts of garbage. We have gone from grab her by the (meow) to a party made up of nothing more than a bunch of (meow).

      2. noneconomist

        Lock her up! If “evil” is all she’s got, how will she ever compete with snappy repartee like Lyin’ Ted, Pochahontas, Crooked Hillary, Cryin’ Chuck, Crazy Bernie, Enemy of the People,
        Imagine if Osoff In Georgia continues to call Perdue a crook, and if his crowds chant “Lock him up!” Republican wailing and teeth gnashing will be in high gear.

        1. Barkley Rosser

          Now now now, noneconomist. Mosesl Herzog thinks that Trump was fully justified in calling Sen. Warren “Pocahontas.” Looks to me like maybe you need to go wash your mouth out, tsk tsk.

        2. Barkley Rosser

          It’s all about those “signature” upturned collars of Yellen’s. Yes, pretty elliptical, if not quite fully hermeneutical.

          1. Barkley Rosser

            Somehow the system here is putting this comment for formeeconomist here aftet noneconomist. I had one for him, but it refuses to register it. Had to do with noting that MH likes what Trump said about Warren.

  5. pgl

    “Cecilia Elena Rouse’s primary research interests are in labor economics with a focus on the economics of education”. That is from her bio. She combines being a good labor economist which means she gets the nuanced concepts that the conservative opponents of wage floors completely miss. She also gets the role education plays in fostering human capital for workers – something the conservative economist like Mankiw get.

    Of course Team Trump “economists” flunked Econ 101 so the role of education in fostering growth that helps workers completely escapes this crew.

    She and Bernstein will make a very good team!

  6. 2slugbaits

    Republicans acquiesced in allowing Trump’s OMB to radically reprogram dollars to fund his Wall. That set a precedent, so it will be interesting to see how they react if Biden’s OMB decides to radically reprogram dollars. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

    I would have expected Biden’s Secretary of Labor to be a part of the economic team. Biden might not be able to get McConnell to go along with a higher minimum wage, but a muscular Dept of Labor could go a long way towards making up for that; e.g., enforcing laws against wage theft and overtime. And with new reprograming powers the OMB could reprogram Dept of Labor dollars towards a beefed up Wage & Hour Division.

      1. Barkley Rosser


        There have been serious reports Biden might support reviving building a new tunnel under the Hudson, although that may not help people in NYC, per se.
        But it would help general East Coast transportation, certainly a matter of national interest.

    1. pgl

      Executive Order to have a $15 minimum wage for all Federal employees and all Federal contracts. McConnell cannot stop that.

    2. Barkley Rosser

      Regarding OMB, that is where Trump seems ready to impose his new Schedule F for civil servant and carry out a massive purge before going out the door. This will be another big mess Biden, and I guess Tanden, will have clean up.

      1. 2slugbaits

        Barkley Rosser True, but that’s why God created what are known as “dumping grounds” in every department and agency. It’s difficult to fire a career civil servant, but relatively easy to move them into dead end and utterly useless jobs. Every department and agency has its dumping grounds for exactly that purpose.

        1. Barkley Rosser

          I think Trump’s plan is to simply outright fire these OMB people, no sending to do-nothing dumping grounds. Indeed 88% of the OMB is in his sights. He may well clear the whole place out except for the janitors.

  7. joseph

    formereconomist: “Cornyn won’t be the only one to object to Tanden; she has a pretty full history of tweeting that Republicans differ not just on grounds of policy but are “evil.”

    Oh, my! Bring out the smelling salts to the fainting couch. Someone said something rude on twitter.

    This is hilarious considering Republicans spent the last four years sucking up to the Twitterer in Chief who has not let a single day pass without some petty insult on twitter about his political foes.

    “Dope, dumb, failed, disgraced, stupid, like a dog, fat, corrupt, enemy of the people, and, yes, evil.” Heck, Trump even went after Ted Cruz’s wife, implying she was less attractive than his own wife.

    Republicans demanding civility is simply laughable. Civility and the national debt — two obsessions Republicans suddenly rediscover after a mysterious four-year absence.

    1. noneconomist

      Imagine the outrage if she came up with something over the top like “enemies of the people.” Or “Malevolent Mitch”. (Ok, too many syllables for the rubes)

  8. pgl

    Kevin Drum – The OMB Is More Important Than You Think

    The Office of Management and Budget is one of those agencies that’s little known to the public but surprisingly important in real life. In addition to managing the budget process, it’s also the agency that does things like regulatory review and cost-benefit analysis, which can make all the difference between environmental regulations succeeding or failing. Progressives were concerned that Joe Biden might nominate Bruce Reed, a noted deficit hawk, to run OMB, but this turned out to be a head fake. Instead he has nominated Neera Tanden.
    In theory there should have been no need to play games over this. Tanden is a longtime Clinton ally who has run the Center for American Progress for the past couple of decades, and her politics are pretty progressive. But there’s more to it. She’s also one of us. And by us I mean ordinary folks who get into periodic Twitter feuds and make a few enemies along the way. Personally I consider this great, since it suggests a real human being beneath the political exterior, but then again, I suppose I might feel differently if any of those feuds had been with me.
    I’ve avoided that fate—no surprise since I seem to agree with her about nearly everything—but one of Tanden’s most visible feuds has been with Bernie Sanders, which naturally means she’s viewed as less than totally progressive despite her policy preferences. Thus the fake with Bruce Reed. Regardless of how you come out in the Tanden-Sanders fight, even progressives are breathing a sigh of relief that at least Biden didn’t choose Reed.
    So that’s that. Except for one thing: Tanden has also been mean toward Republicans! Hard to believe, I know. But Sen. John Cornyn, who apparently has forgotten what his party routinely says about Democrats, has declared this a terrible affront against civility and says that Tanden will never be confirmed by the Senate. We’ll see. If Republicans refuse to confirm anyone who’s ever been critical of Republicans, we’re going to have a very long battle to confirm Biden’s cabinet.

  9. baffling

    “but one of Tanden’s most visible feuds has been with Bernie Sanders”
    i certainly hope that biden does not give in to the demands of sanders or aoc. they do not represent the majority of democrats views. at this time, democrats control the white house and the house of representatives. republicans control the senate and the judiciary. Democrats do not have the political capital to ram through progressive ideas today. i think biden truly intends to be a moderate on most items, and taking progressive wins when they are available.

  10. Barkley Rosser

    I am actually going to agree with Moses that the appointment of Tenden looks like a mistake by Biden, although not for the reasons he has put forward, which are mostly just worthless garbage. She is both competent and reasonably progressive. But she has managed to anger important groups of people who are likely to end up opposing her confirmation in the Senate and will make lots of loud noises doing so, that is both Republicans on the right and Bernie bros on the left. They all frankly look silly in their whining about her, but that does not matter. They do not like her and many will oppose her confirmation, probably enough to tank it.

    OMB is definitely important so does need somebody competent and progressive. I think Reed would be bad, and I am not keen on Orszag. But I think there are others who would be suitable, and I suspect in the end Biden will have go with one of them.

    I am wondering why he picked her, given all the opposition she clearly has. Maybe indeed it is a way of making GOPsters look bad going after before the Georgia runoffs. But I think he has mostly been trying to avoid unnecessary fights with the Senate at this time, given that he will certainly be having some really serious ones down the road. Moses may think getting into fights you are likely to lose shows you are “strong,” although I do not think so, and Moses does not support Biden using up his political capital on a fight for her.

    A curious comparison is the situation with one whom Moses does think Biden should get in a fight for: Susan Rice, who increasingly looks like she may not be getting an appointment at all, given that most of the major posts she looks like a candidate for seem to be goine already (SecDef is still out there, but I doubt she will get that, although that is still a possibility, and certainly is a very important position). Given how close he reportedly came to picking her to be his VP, I do not think his not picking her so far is a matter of him not liking her personally. Lots of sources have suggested that it is indeed his concern that she will not get confirmed by the Senate. Curiously she does have a similarity to Tanden here, aside from being a woman of color. They are both strongly disliked by the Republicans, but also have Dem opponents. The difference I think is that Tanden’s Dem opponents are more open about it, while in Rice’s case the GOP ones are more open about it. It is quite likely she would get zero GOPsters voting for her for anything, although for VP Biden did not need them. But he does for a Senate confirmation, especially if GOP wins the Georgia runoffs. They will hang Benghazi around her neck, which is ulitmately horribly unfair and just a pile of bs anyway. But as with the issues with Tanden, it does not matter. Fox News and the GOP think it is a big problem, and Biden may well simply not want to deal with a bunch of noise about that old controversy.

    1. Moses Herzog

      @ Barkley Junior
      One has problems that are self-created by talking to colleagues in emails like she is a 16 year old playing “mean girl” with her friends in the high school bathroom mirror. The other is in trouble because Hillary had her head up her own a$$ (like usual) and “the White House” (read as President) asked her to fall on a sword (more like take a medieval sword to her face) so Hillary wouldn’t have to be known as the complete inept person she was/is.

      Which of the two do you think is a more honorable person?? Oh wait, I forgot who I was talking to. Anyone else on this blog that knows what honorable behavior is, feel free to jump in and help Junior figure this one out. The “h word” must have him blank at this moment.

      1. Barkley Rosser

        Sorry, Moses, but this is exactly where you have head firmly up a location we shall not mention to keep Menzie happy. There is not much difference between them. You look totally ridiculous turning Rice into this martyr. As was explained to you earlier, although you have a long record of not getting it when things are explained to you, Clinton was the far bigger victim in the Benghazi nonsense, although clearly it is what the GOP mostly holds against Rice, while the Dems who do not like her are mostly laying much lower. She sis not have to do an 11 hours straight hearing before the 8th House committee investigating her actions in Benghazi, which were just fine, as did Clinton Not at all. Clinton got it by at least an order of magnitude more than did Rice, with both of them essentially victims of the CIA covering up its own role in all of it upfront so that they both ended up making statements that would be used against them basically forever. Rice is an innocent victim in it, but so was Clinton.

        Of course, the problem is that you cannot admit that about Clinton. She is one of those older women you have a sick obsession with and do nothing but denounce, along with just plain making up bs about her that you spout here. The latest that you have been spouting is this total baloney about her and NAFTA. Just pure bs. Heck, not only was she not running around Ohio bragging about something she was not, being the author of NAFTA, but she had in fact turned away from supporting the TPP, although doing so was probably not a good idea. And you also stupidly think that NAFTA was this big source of lost jobs in the Midwest, which it was not, although it certainly has been viewed as such by many workers in the Midwest. So your going on about this just puts you in the same lyjng camp as Trump with his calling it “the worst trade deal in history,” although his USMCA is barely different from it.

        Your criticisms of Tanden personally are also just garbage, as others here have pointed out. But both she and Rice share what you have praised as being “sharp elbows” on the part of Rice, although since Bernie bros have been on the receiving end of such sharp elbows from Tanden more than they have from Rice, you denounce Tanden while falling all over Rice. You just look like a fool on all this. They are both highly competent and reasonably progressive. But you just spout whiney silliness about all this.

      2. pgl

        So if a girl is mean that’s bad but if the boys are mean, they are showing they are tough? Come on man – stop being a wuss.

        1. Moses Herzog

          Show me where Peter Orszag’s “mean girl” emails are??? Can you tell me where on Wikileaks Alice Rivlin’s “mean girl” emails/tweets are??? OK, How about Jack Lew, where are his “mean girl” emails??? These are people who “don’t get caught with their pants, uh uh uh uh, their skirt down”. These are the TYPE people who deserve the jobs and don’t turn it into a circus freak show. You and Junior may enjoy that melodrama and a failed political appointment. I would rather skip it.

          1. pgl

            “where on Wikileaks Alice Rivlin’s “mean girl” emails/tweets are???”

            I seriously doubt you ever met the great Alice Rivlin. Of course she died about 18 months ago at age 88. She was a mere 5 feet tall but trust me – she suffered no fools. No – she did not need Twitter to get her point across. And if she met you – she would probably laugh and walk away.

          2. Moses Herzog

            Deep……. can you include some labor economist footnotes there with your abstract concepts??~~~ I got confused halfway in. You have no valid reply to the 3 questions, and that is why I asked them.

          3. Barkley Rosser

            Why in heck are dragging Alice Rivlin in here, Moses? pgl seems to be on top of it here. You are just completely losing it, either because of excessive drinking or maybe because of your loss of mental “dexterity” due to interacting with me.

            You have been told how to solve that. Shut up and get lost.

          4. Moses Herzog

            @ Barkley Junior
            Alice Rivlin was the head of the OMB at one time, which is the SAME job Neera Tanden is being appointed to. Maybe if your dementia wasn’t so rampant at this point, you’d know that. And if I was “drunk” when I wrote that comment, apparently my mind still works better than yours sober, because that’s not a terribly hard connection to make. Get a CAT scan or MRI on whatever that thing is you call your “brain”.

  11. 2slugbaits

    Menzie Let me re-iterate: a very large part of what OMB does is not interpreting the regulations, but rather writing the regulations.

    Yep. A good example is the way OMB directs elements within the Executive Department to use discount rates in any economic analysis. During the Obama years the guidance was to match the length of the project’s life to the length of the real return on Treasuries. So if a project had an expected economic life of 10 years, you would use the real 10 year rate and adjust all costs for inflation. But under Trump’s OMB that guidance was changed so that in most cases Executive Departments must use a 7% discount rate:

    Base-Case Analysis. Constant-dollar benefit-cost analyses of proposed investments and regulations should report net present value and other outcomes
    determined using a real discount rate of 7 percent. This rate approximates the marginal pretax rate of return on an average investment in the private sector in recent years. Significant changes in this rate will be reflected in future updates of this Circular.

    A 7 percent discount rate is a pretty big hurdle, so the effect is to kill almost any government project on the grounds that it flunks a cost/benefit analysis.

    1. pgl

      Could it be that Kevin Hassett insisted on using CAPM to estimate some risk adjusted real return? Now I have seen a few hacks arguing for much higher interest rates but those hacks would make Kudlow look like a Nobel Prize winner.

      Then again Hassett in 1999 tried to claim stocks on publicly traded companies should be based on no risk premium. Yes he really wrote that! DOW 36000 – how did that work out!

    2. pgl

      “This rate approximates the marginal pretax rate of return on an average investment in the private sector in recent years.”

      Maybe if the project had an asset beta near 1. But wait asset betas are generally lower than equity betas. I should read this as I bet the author flunked Finance 101.

    3. pgl

      The justification given for using this 7% real interest rate is sort of given by

      “public investments and regulations displace both private
      investment and consumption. To account for this displacement and to
      promote efficient investment”

      I bet someone trained in public finance can have a field day knocking this pathetic justification. But I was looking for their evidence that the expected real return for the typical private company’s investment in assets is as high as 7%. This document provided no such evidence.

      1. 2slugbaits

        Notice that the OMB guidance refers to the average return on investment in the private sector rather than the marginal return on investment. The marginal return is what’s relevant, not the average return. And since government cost/benefit analyses typically apply a separate “risk” rate above and beyond the pure discount rate, the OMB guidance implies a 7% risk-free rate of return. It’s a mess. It’s also transparently intended to frustrate any government spending…unless of course that government spending is directed towards bailouts of red state farmers.

    4. pgl

      Let’s do an exercise in deciding on some transportation project such as what is being discussed with the ailing public transportation in the Northeast. Right now the real interest rate on 10-year government bonds is negative 0.9%. So the Obama OMB would likely approve sensible projects.

      But as you note, Trump wants a 7% real discount rate. A 7.9% risk premium would be incredibly high for the private sector. I just did an exercise using data provided by Aswath Damodaran of NYU (the fellow has an awesome website). I get a risk premium of only 4.25%.

      You know if there is some public finance professor with a blog – we should ask him (or her) to comment on this as the Trump OMB is just nuts!

      1. 2slugbaits

        About 25 or 30 years ago I was involved in a longstanding discussion regarding the discount rate. Way back in 1969 a guy at RAND (Stockfisch) did a study for DoD and recommended a 10% (risk free) discount rate based on private sector rates of return. I never thought much of the Stockfisch study, but that became DoD guidance up until the 1990s. I was one of those who led the charge against that 10% discount rate. In my research I found that back in the late 1960s the American Economic Review sponsored a panel discussion as to what the government discount rate should be. The panel included all of the econ heavyweights from the late 60s (Samuelson, Tobin, Friedman, etc.). The Samuelson and Tobin side of the panel argued for using Treasury rates. The Friedman, et al. side of the panel argued for a shadow price of consumer discount rates. To further complicate things, the GAO, which is a creature of Congress and isn’t bound by OMB guidance, recommends an annual shadow price of private sector returns calculation proposed by Marty Feldstein. So there was lots of conflicting guidance within the government: DoD 10% vs Treasury vs GAO vs OMB. Some of us had lots of arguments with GAO economists over the discount rate, but by the early 2000s everyone more or less settled on real Treasury returns.

        1. Barkley Rosser


          I was actually involved in those debates before you were and have published about it.

          As it was Nixon imposed the Stockfisch recommendation on the entire US government for use in benefit-cost analyses. An argument for imposing it across the board was that having different discount rates used by different parts of the government would introduce inefficiencies.

          As it was, the firs break to start using much lower one year T-bil rates was the US Forest Service, with those rates at about 4% then. It is especially concerned with discount rates given the very long time horizons that the Forsst Service is concerned with, as about 60 years is typical for the length of growing for good sized tree for cutting for timber use.

          The deeper argument is that given concerns of the government in dealing with externalities and public goods, it needs to deal with a social discount rate that may have nothing to do with marginal returns on capital investment in the private sector, which was the basis of Stockfisch’s study and arguments.

          1. pgl

            That was back in the day when economists were involved in these discussions. Now we have village idiots like Kudlow at the head of these discussions.

            So what was the discount rate used in the analysis of whether to build Trump’s border wall.

        2. Barkley Rosser

          Actually this old controversy has relevance to the discussion on this thread. When that universal 10% discount rate was imposed on the whole US government it was half a century ago in 1970, and it was Nixon’s OMB director, Roy Ash, who did it, using the Stockfisch study as the basis. While specific agencies gradually got out from under it, it remained officially in place until after Carter got in.

          If anybody is curious, I can point to some publications of mine that discuss this and related capital theory issues.

          Anyway, the OMB is important, and it looks like Trump wants to outright fire up to 88% of its staff as he goes out the door, with his probably illegal Schedule F he declared by Executive Order that looks to seriously undermine legal civil service protections. But, hey, courts take their sweet time while in the meantime people stop getting paid and are thrown out of their offices. Hopefully Biden can get this undone ASAP once in.

          1. 2slugbaits

            Barkley Rosser specific agencies gradually got out from under it, it remained officially in place until after Carter got in.

            Yes, departments and agencies were slow to move away from the 10 percent number. It wasn’t until the mid-1990s that the Army and Navy (but not Air Force and DLA) decided to ignore OMB guidance and go with a 7 percent rate, which probably made sense at the time. And then during the early 2000s, and in accordance with more enlightened OMB guidance, the Army (but not the Navy) went to using Treasury rates aligned with the expected life of the project. And it wasn’t until 2010 that Treasury rates were used across all of DoD.

            One of the unintended consequences of using something like a 7 percent discount rate in today’s world is that economic analyses will start slipping in some dishonest data in order to overcome a very high discount rate hurdle. Analysts will be under a lot of pressure to find ways to make some project pass the cost/benefit analysis, and since the 7 percent value is unrealistic it makes it easier to justify using other unrealistic data to balance things out. And that’s the kind of thing that can easily slip into an analysis in an unconscious way.

          2. Barkley Rosser

            BTW, this matter points out the importance of Menzie’s point that OMB directors write regulations, not just interpret them, and sometimes those regs have substantial influence for a long time. It is an important position.

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