Thursday, June 12, 2008

Jason Furman, Social Security, and Walmart

Seeing that he's made the cover of the NY Times this morning, I was going to write up a summary of the controversy over Jason, but Mark Thoma beat me to it, with a very good post here.

It's a bit disingenuous to suggest that the views of the economic policy director don't matter, in part because campaign jobs lead to administration jobs. Given his position, it's a good bet that if Obama wins, Jason will be director of the National Economic Council, making him the President's main interface for economic policy. During the campaign, Jason will be working on drafts of economic policy speeches, sending Obama daily memos on economic issues, and screening the huge mass of external economic policy advisers trying to get their word in with Obama, so his own views have to come into play somewhat. At the same time, Jason is a skilled campaign staffer and technocrat--not an ideologue--and he's not going to be trying to sell Obama on a particular economic vision. Plus, given that, by all accounts, Obama likes to seek out a variety of viewpoints and then make the call himself, Jason's views are not going to be a huge factor.

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