The New York Times had a political memo this morning on Rubinomics. The article poitns out that Geithner, Summers, Orszag and Fronman all have deep Rubin ties. The Times is correct that these individuals have diverged some on policy and the moderate stances they have held in the past; however, I want to know why there is not one liberal economist being put in a key economic post. Now I know that Obama is moderate on economics, as am I, but in a world where Lincoln is his model, and rigorous argument is his ideal, why can’t he appoint one true liberal economist?
I am not a protectionist, and I think that America’s grand manufacturing industry is in a long decline of diminishing comparative advantage, but we should run the biggest deficit in history next year. We should run a New New Deal. We should pass universal health care (which apparently a la Kristol’s 1994 memo, might destroy the republican party for a generation). Now, sure, Larry Summers has come to that position:
As for Mr. Summers, he has “truly evolved,” Mr. Bernstein [an economist at Economics Policy Institute] said, based on his reading of Mr. Summers’s columns in the Financial Times this year. Both men have been advisers to Mr. Obama, and at a recent meeting, Mr. Bernstein recalled: “I told him, ‘Boy, Larry, your views on trade, on income inequality, on stimulus spending, they’re approaching ours at E.P.I.’ And he sort of huffed and puffed, and said, ‘Oh well, changing circumstances.’ ”
But where is the Bob Reich. Rubin and Reich may well have both moderated over time, and “the two Bobs” have come together, but where is the possible dissenting voice on economic issue. Who is the true champion for liberal economics, even more domestic spending than Summers or Geithner think necessary? I don’t know that there will be one.