Posts Tagged ‘Christina Romer’
October 11th, 2010 at 10:25 pm
Weakness in the West Wing
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As we profiled in last week’s Freedom Minute video, they’re currently doing a bit of housekeeping in the Obama White House, with key departures coming throughout the ranks of the senior staff. Thus far, the biggest change has been on the economic team, with the departures of Peter Orszag, Chrisina Romer, and Larry Summers. Last week’s announcement that General Jim Jones would step down as National Security Adviser, however, shows that the bloodletting is now spreading to the president’s foreign policy team.

Unfortunately, the upshot of this transitional period seems to be replacing plaques rather than policies. The new economic advisers promise more of the same. And on national security, we may actually be trading down.

While General Jones was known for keeping banker’s hours and not being a particularly influential member of Obama’s inner circle, his military credentials insulated him from being viewed as too dovish on foreign policy. Not so his replacement, Thomas Donilon, whose past successes include being in-house counsel at Fannie Mae (you can’t make this stuff up).

Writing in today’s New York Post, AEI’s Arthur Herman lays out the case for pessimism at Obama’s choice for the nation’s most powerful national security position:

Donilon is the anti-Kissinger, the bureaucrat’s bureaucrat. By every account, he measures success by the number of position papers he has read and sees process as important as substance in foreign policy.

He learned this working as chief of staff for the most colorless and ineffectual 20th century secretary of state, Warren Christopher. Formerly No. 2 at State in the Jimmy Carter years, Christopher embodied the Carter mindset of seeing America as an arrogant problem child that needs to be spanked and grounded if the world is to have any peace.

That mindset now rules the Obama White House.

It’s why Obama is comfortable with America’s steady decline both economically and strategically, why he’s pushing for more defense cuts and why he clearly resents having been talked into backing the surge strategy in Afghanistan — a problem he wishes would simply go away.

For those wondering if Obama is going to pull off a Clintonesque renaissance in the wake of a mid-term drubbing, the appointment of advisers even more ideologically extreme than their predecessors provides an answer.

We’ve always known that Obama views himself in quasi-religious terms. Now it’s beginning to look like he’s setting himself on a path of political martyrdom.


September 3rd, 2010 at 12:17 am
Top Economic Advisor to Obama Admits She Couldn’t Do Her Job

Dana Milbank of the Washington Post pens a searing description of Christina Romer’s farewell luncheon at the National Press Club.  According to Milbank, Romer, until recently chairman of President Barack Obama’s Council of Economic Advisors, established four points during her speech to reporters:

(1)   She had no idea how bad the economic collapse would be.

(2)   She still doesn’t understand exactly why it was so bad.

(3)   The response to the collapse was inadequate.

(4)   And she doesn’t have much of an idea how to fix things.

So, where does Christina Romer go from here?  Back to her teaching post at UC Berkeley where she’ll presumably try to make reality fit into her mathematical models; only this time she won’t have to worry about being held publicly accountable for her conclusions.  (Such as the one where she argued that passing the first stimulus bill would keep unemployment below 8%…)

December 14th, 2009 at 4:31 pm
Job Growth Coming… So Let’s Pass Another “Stimulus?”
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The Obma White House has long followed the idea that there’s no problem that the federal government shouldn’t fix.

Now, it’s telling us that there’s no improvement that the federal government shouldn’t fix, either.

That appeared to be the message from White House Council of Economic Advisors Chairman Christina Romer and National Economic Council Chairman Lawrence Summers, both of whom made the rounds on yesterday’s Sunday talk shows.  In his comments to George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s This Week, Mr. Summers said that, “most professional forecasters are now looking for a return to job growth by spring.”  And appearing on NBC’s Meet the Press, Ms. Romer predicted “positive job growth sometime in the first quarter.”

But as noted by The Wall Street Journal today, we must ignore federal deficits in favor of more “stimulus” spending.  According to both Summers and Romer, shifting focus to the deficit instead of spending even more during a period of record deficits would be “suicide.”

So let’s get this straight:  Obama’s first “stimulus” was supposed to cap unemployment at 8%.  It’s now at 10%.  But despite the fact that the White House expects job growth to return in the next quarter, it wants to spend even more to “stimulate?”

One is left to wonder whether the Obama Era more closely resembles a work of Orwell or merely an issue of The Onion.

December 14th, 2009 at 2:33 pm
White House: Debt? What Debt?
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The White House has made the decision that debt, all $12 trillion worth of it, no longer matters in America.  Instead of attempting to lower the $1.4 trillion annual budget deficit, the White House is looking for another round of stimulus pork.

According to White House Economic Advisor Christina Romer, it would be “suicide” to focus on deficit reduction to the exclusion of “job creation.”  Her solution, of course, is to repeat the past two/three failed stimulus bills and spend another $50 billion on infrastructure.   In Washington, D.C. that means $5 billion on infrastructure and $45 billion on pork and other preferred government handouts.

Romer’s solution is odd considering this paper she authored with her husband in April (after she began working at the White House) that concluded each dollar of tax cuts historically raised Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by $3, greater than many similar estimates of government stimulus spending.

Romer also concluded that tax increases can easily lower GDP.  As she wrote, “Our results indicate that tax changes have very large effects on output.  Our baseline specification implies than an exogenous tax increase of 1% of GDP lowers real GDP by almost 3%.”  There appears to be a big difference between Doctor of Economics Romer and White House employee Romer.

With all this knowledge about the virtues of tax cuts and the harm of tax increases, Dr. Romer should pay a visit to the West Wing occasionally and remind President Obama that his policies will continue to shrink GDP and impede job creation.