Report: Jason Furman to head White House economic council

Giuseppe Macri Tech Editor
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The White House Council of Economic Advisors is about to head in a new direction according to Bloomberg, which reported Tuesday that Jason Furman will be tapped to lead the presidential advisory council.

Furman, the current deputy director of the National Economic Council is said to replace current CEA head Alan Krueger, who has headed the office since 2011. The White House acknowledged Tuesday evening that Krueger is returning to teach at Princeton University, where he was a professor of economics and public affairs, in time for the fall semester.

Upon hearing of the pending nomination, Jared Bernstein, a former colleague of Furman’s, senior fellow of the Center on budget and Policy Priorities, and former chief economist and economic adviser to Vice President Joe Biden wrote the following describing what he dubbed as “Furmanomics”:

–Progressive taxation that raises ample revenue;
–Boosting efficiencies and squeezing out inefficiencies in the tax code and the health care system;
–Solidly Keynesian in recession (he was ally in those arguments back in the day);
–Crafting policies with a clear eye to implementation constraints (something you only develop from pretty long experience in the gov’t sector);
–Strong supporter of the safety net (see here, e.g., re the little-known Furman effect).

The role of the CEA his gained significant attention since its role in providing economic advice to President Obama during the course of the housing and financial crisis that plagued the Obama administration’s first term. The CEA chairman is a member of the presidential Cabinet, and as such is subject to the Senate’s advice and consent confirmation.

Furman has served the current administration in a similar capacity as deputy director of the National Economic Council since 2009. The CEA chair interprets economic data regarding current and possible policy to the president, and is commonly spotlighted for delivering and explaining the monthly jobs report.

Bernstein went on to describe Furman as someone with, “a deep, granular knowledge of federal economic and fiscal policy, in no small part because he’s played a role in shaping those policies since the Clinton years. This is a guy who can hold forth on the history of the tiers of the unemployment insurance system as well as the exemptions in the corporate tax code, including the Senators who snuck them in there.”

In the recent past, Furman has been vocal about his concerns over the automatic sequestration cuts that began in March, warning that more than $1 trillion in automatic cuts would have dire consequences on unemployment and the fragile economy as a whole.

“It would be good to infuse the econ team over there with some new blood, someone whose name doesn’t jump to mind as a former Clinton or Obama operative,” Bernstein said.

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