Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Bush Without Economists

Hot waters for Bush as fewer good Economists are willing to join the administration.

Help Wanted: Academic Economists, Pro-Bush - New York Times: "IT'S no secret that hurricanes and wars have swamped the economic agenda that George W. Bush planned for his second
term. In the commotion, however, one fact has gone largely unnoticed: much of Washington's expert economic team has disappeared.
The chairmanship of the Council of Economic Advisers will soon be vacant, and two spots on the Federal Reserve Board that were recently filled by academic economists already are. There is no assistant secretary of the Treasury for tax policy, and the director's chair at the Congressional Budget Office, currently occupied by Douglas J. Holtz-Eakin, will soon be empty, too.
The White House and Congress need as many as five academic economists of high caliber, and it's not obvious where they will come from. The Republican Party may be facing something
of a shallow bench.
'Bush's reputation in at least the academic community is about as low as you can imagine,' said William A. Niskanen, who was a member of the council during President Ronald Reagan's first term and is now chairman of the Cato Institute, a libertarian research group. 'A lot of people would not be willing to give up a good tenured position for a position in the White House.'"

"It has been true, typically speaking, that Republican administrations have found it harder to find senior, more prominent academic economists for the C.E.A. members and chairman than have Democratic administrations," said Michael L. Mussa, a senior fellow at the Institute for
International Economics, a nonpartisan research group in Washington, who was a member of the council during President Reagan's second term.
Mr. Mussa explained that the problem was partly one of specializations. "In the economics
profession, on the microeconomic and regulatory side, there you find a substantial number of Republicans," he said, "but macroeconomists tend to lean a bit more to the Democratic side, on average."

Quite a few economists might have a hard time acting as the president's mouthpiece today. Plenty of academics, even some who have supported Republicans in the past, have condemned the White House's current policies. In particular, the enormous federal deficit has elicited ire from both left and right.
"There are a number of Republicans, both the right-wingers and the moderates, who are very uncomfortable about the deficits, and particularly about the spending that we saw in the first four years," Mr. Mussa said.
Dismay about the war in Iraq could also prompt many academics to turn down the White House on principle, Mr. Niskanen said.
Well! open up doors for foriegn Economists and see how many you get by relaxing the condition about Citizenship.


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