Bruce Bartlett’s view of the Obama economic team:
So far, I am very impressed. Larry Summers at the NEC is brilliant. Tim Geithner at Treasury inspires confidence. Peter Orszag at OMB tells me that we will get honest numbers on which to base policy for a change. And Christina Romer at the CEA puts one of the nation’s top experts on the Great Depression at close hand.
This group has made me realize just how poor Bush’s appointments in recent years have been in the economic area. When slavish political loyalty is apparently the only requirement for a Bush Administration job, and demonstrable competence barely counts at all, it doesn’t tend to attract the best and the brightest. When on those rare occasions, Bush managed to get someone who is competent, there is no evidence that he paid the slightest attention to them, preferring instead the counsel of “Mayberry Machiavellis,” as former White House adviser John DiIulio called them. No wonder we are in the mess we are in.
Indeed. Does anyone even know that the Bush National Economic Council is run by a guy named Keith Hennessey? And if ever there was a time for an administration’s key economic advisers to become known by the general public, you’d think this would be it. But instead, he’s an unknown. And he’s an unknown in part because he’s a nobody. Before he ran the NEC, he was the deputy. Before that, he was on Trent Lott’s staff. He has a master’s degree and it’s not in economics. The stature gap with a Lawrence Summers is enormous.