This strikes me as encouraging.
President Obama will nominate Alan Krueger, a Princeton University labor economist to be his top economic adviser, a White House official said Monday.
Mr. Krueger, 50 years old, would succeed Austan Goolsbee as chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers. Mr. Goolsbee is leaving the White House to return to the University of Chicago.
With the economic recovery flagging, the White House was eager to name a successor to Mr. Goolsbee.
As the Wall Street Journal noted, Krueger’s scholarship suggests he will “likely provide a voice inside the administration for more-aggressive government action to bring down unemployment and, particularly, to address long-term joblessness.”
If his name sounds familiar, it’s because Krueger’s academic work has frequently played a valuable role in the political discourse. When congressional Republicans blatantly lied about the costs of a cap-and-trade plan, it was Krueger who set the record straight. When conservatives said in 2009 that slashing the minimum wage would boost the economy, Krueger explained why the opposite is true.
The economist also brings relevant experience to the table.
While at Treasury, Mr. Krueger worked on analyses of a variety of programs, including tax incentives to encourage employers to hire the employed, the “cash for clunkers” initiative to jump-start auto purchases and Build America taxable municipal bonds.
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, through a spokeswoman, said that “given his expertise in labor economics, he is precisely the right choice to lead the CEA at this moment in history.”
Martin Feldstein, who was CEA chairman in the Reagan White House, praised the choice. “His experience at the Treasury will give him a running start in his new job,” he said. “Alan is an expert in labor-market problems, taxation and the economics of terrorism. I hope the president listens to him.”
It’s worth noting that the chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers is a post that requires Senate confirmation, which suggests Krueger might be able to get to work sometime around 2018.