DAVID HALE IS ONE OF THOSE POLYGLOT ECONOMISTS WHO MESMERIZE, exhaust, inform, and entertain all at the same time. There are a few of those types out there, and I really enjoy spending time with David and the very few others out there like him. I always learn a lot.
Hale was just in D.C. for the Spring Meetings of the IMF and began to snoop around about what the Bush economic team might look like if he wins re-election. Note that I am not reporting that Hale thinks Bush will be re-elected or that he wants Bush.
In his October 8th Hale Advisors Report, he writes:
First, the Bush administration does not yet have a clear strategy for post election economic policy. There will also be numerous personnel changes which could alter how the administration debates policy.
The odds are high that Stephen Friedman of the National Economic Council and Greg Mankiw of the Council of Economic Advisors will leave. John Snow would like to stay. The odds are high that Joshua Bolten will remain at OMB for the time being.
There is nothing earth-shattering here other than the fact that someone finally mentioned Stephen Friedman’s name. Friedman must be one of the most hidden and obscured national economic advisors to the president in history. Friedman inherited Lawrence Lindsay’s job, while Mankiw got Glen Hubbard’s perch.
John Snow wants to stay, but he is one who really ought to leave. Treasury’s power as a powerful policy institution in town has simply imploded.
The rate of change among senior economic staff in the White House is thus at least twice as fast as senior defense and security policy officials — very few of whom have departed.
Is the problem for these talented professionals that there is no economic policy to speak of coming out of the White House?
John Kerry has been hitting on this slightly in the debates but I hope he turns up the volume in round three. The absence of strategy is not strategy; and on the economic front — tax cuts alone only just get us deeper in debt.
I return from Caen and the shores of Normandy tomorrow.
For any of you who have the means to travel here want to visit an ancient chateau, visit the Chateau de Fontaine-Henry, a castle-home which has been in the same family from roughly the time of William the Conqueror nearly a thousand years ago until today.
It’s the finest home I’ve ever seen — with each layer from the deep ground up representing completely different architectural styles from the 12th century through the Renaissance at the top of the house. It also boasts the highest roof in vertical ascent of any home in France and is an engineering wonder.
The folks I met at this conference and I had an incredible dinner there last night with the Marquis who owns this place. I’m trying to get him to consider building some kind of conference center on his estate like the one the Rockefeller Brothers Fund maintains at the John D. Rockefeller mansion, Kykuit.
Anyway, it’s worth a trip.
— Steve Clemons