The problem with Obama's Economics Team

Rotwang nails it:  

. . . the sensible leader collects some diversity of advice. There is no intellectual diversity in the Obama White House. The left brain of the party is missing. As smart as Obama is, he cannot personally supply the 'Team B' expertise he will need in economics, finance, and other matters not found in law school curricula.

Of course qualifications matter. But so does ideology. Ideology might be understood as the summary of a view of how the world works, a set of predispositions, rules of thumb, and yes, biases, all informed by intelligence, study, experience, and practice. The "Team of Rubins" has ideology too, and now we are living with its fruits. How is that working out for us? What does it take to discredit these blokes? If their policies resulted in hordes of flesh-eating zombies roaming the countryside, would that be enough? I fear not.

The joker missing from the deck of Obama's brilliant team is a single, solitary person with an eminent track record of scholarship reflecting a critical understanding of the shortcomings of markets.

Even the Wall Street Journal is recognizing the Obama team is in denial on outsourcing, and note most of Obama's economic advisers have worked for companies who promote the offshore outsourcing of U.S. jobs.

The upshot is that the Obama folks haven’t taken the issue of white-collar outsourcing very seriously, in part because his advisers are either doing it or don’t believe it’s a real problem - Ron Hira, assistant professor of public policy at Rochester Institute of Technology and author of Outsourcing America.

It looks like the Technical wing of the CWA union is speaking out, saying they are less than thrilled about the Obama economics team.

In discussing Robert Rubin, the article mentions how Citigroup has offshore outsourcing thousands upon thousands of jobs.



Biden hired Jared Bernstein

The head of economist of the Economic Policy Institute, maybe the most liberal "mainstream" economic thinktank. Bernstein was put on Obama's economic team during the campaign when there was a brouhaha over Obama choosing a Rubinite for his main economic advisor. The unions screamed, Bernstein and James Galbraith (son of John Kenneth) were put on the team. I read that Bernstein was hired as Biden's top economic advisor. Maybe Biden will be the anti-Cheney?

JR on Grist

The problem I see

is that the Democratic Left is often a fake left- rich people trying to keep a populist backlash from taking away all they have stolen, instead of an actual populist/progressive egalitarian ideal.

Reminds me of how Stalin interpreted Marx- everything for the Party, nothing for the People.

Maximum jobs, not maximum profits.

Not sure what you mean

Much of the Democratic Party Left is pretty centrist, and they can certainly be unPopulist, although not necessarily anti-Populist. Remember, the original Populists threatened to take over the Democratic Party, and the Democrats tried to accede to as many of their goals as possible while doing as little as possible. Same as it ever was.

But there is a distinctive "Left" that is separate from the Democratic Party, and pressures them.

JR on Grist

I was thinking more of

The Bonus Army or good ole' Teddy Roosevelt's Bull Moose Party. These were the real threats to American Capitalism that FDR's New Deal beat back- and I fear that we're going to get a new new deal without actual change this time around as well.

I'm not sure capitalism is working for us any more. It seems based on 19th century trade theories that were affected by a major lack of communication technology; maybe it's time for something new.

Maximum jobs, not maximum profits.

Oops! Robert Oak

Already posted about Bernstein.

I will say that Robert Rubin co-authored an article with Bernstein, and he has moved quite a bit to the "left" (or am I supposed to say "populist"?), although I still don't trust him, but according to a partly idiotic "analysis" in the N.Y. Times this morning, Obama is getting close to effectively nationalizing the auto industry, and the U.S. is on the verge of acting like Japan's MITI. We shall see (partly idiotic, I think, because Sanger, the author, says that governments have been "miserable" running economic entities)

JR on Grist


One of my issues is global labor arbitrage or outsourcing-insourcing. Bernstein has given talks and raised this issue and that alone makes me really respect him.

The Professional labor world, which is the Scientists, Engineers, Technologists, Mathematicians, even Economists, have been hit so heavy with this and finding Legislators or experts to stand up or even get some press is really difficult.

So, hey, this is a community blog, if you have different views on him, you can always edit your post and expand as to why but the minute an economist start speaking truth on Professional labor issues I'm right in their camp!

Well, I'm hoping that Obama's team

is better than it looks, and they realize we're in a big pile of doo-doo (there are a bunch of Great Depression experts, I vaguely remember enjoying reading Christina Romer's articles), and so what I'm hoping is that they will be open to innovation, even if some of them were knee-deep in business-as-usual with Clinton.

Economic Policy Institute, as I said, seems to be the best "mainstream" economics think tank out there -- they managed to have become one of the main sources for the N.Y. Times on economics, for instance.

JR on Grist

Nationalization is

and I believe should be an option.

What the Obama team is suggesting is anything but.

As far as MITI, I think that this analogy misses much of the point. The involvement of the Japanese government in building an effective industrial policy is far more complex than simply saying that the government was involved.

The way that they state was involved matters a great deal more than the simple fact that they were involved. The Japanese where very pragmatic about their involvement, and very successful. The same thing was true of South Korea, and this is the reason that they've been able to expand their share of the auto market globally.

The US needs our government to take a more active role in the industrial policy.

Can the 'left' 'far left' and 'loony left'....

These are not useful terms. I would suggest:



And those for who yearn for the days of Dixie only you won't be a slave because of your skin color your 'credit' rating or 'net worth' will be used instead.


Welcome to the Plantation!

These terms are more useful, I assert, in sorting our yer Democrats into subcategories.

OT: I got a chance to hear Pelosi making comments about the Big 3 'Lifesaver' she really did not make much sense in the context of the economy as EPers understand it but hey! Them's the breaks.

'When you see a rattlesnake poised to strike, you do not wait until he has struck to crush him.'