Jason Furman to Take Over as Top White House Economist

Michael Teague  |

Jason Furman has been with the administration since Obama’s first campaign, and served as the deputy director of the White House National Economic Council since 2009. As such, he has played a part in most if not all of the administration’s major policies involving jobs, the economy, healthcare reform, taxes, and economic stimulus.

The CEA offers data and research-based advice to the president with regard to economic policy. Furman makes a good fit for this position, as he holds degrees from the London School of Economics as well as Harvard, and has previous advisory experience from his days in the Clinton administration (under Joseph Stiglitz).

More recently, he has been a budget expert at the Brookings institution, where he directed a policy research group focused on economic growth. Furthermore, having been with the administration in several capacities since the beginning, he is said to have good relations with everyone in the White House.

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As a member of the president’s cabinet, Furman’s appointment is subject to Senate confirmation, which, in today’s political climate, could become the latest chapter in a process that the president’s opponents in Washington have tried to use against him at almost every opportunity.

Furman replaces Alan Kreuger who has held the post for the last year and a half, and who is returning to his teaching position at Princeton University this coming fall. The chair of the CEA is an important position not only because of the expertise in policy that it necessitates, but also because the council’s head frequently plays the role of explaining White House policy to the public, as well as reacting on behalf of the White House to economic developments.

The Senate confirmation process could become contentious due to Furman’s minor bête-noire status for more conservative opponents who will be sure to brand him as some shade of leftist. Meanwhile, some labor officials and others slightly to the left of liberal have criticized his championing of free trade policies, as well as positive statements that he has made about the possibility of making changes to social security.

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