CBO Chief Douglas Holtz-Eakin Says “Enough”


Actually, my headline is misleading.
CBO Director Doulas Holtz-Eakin has been offered a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” according to him, to serve as the Paul A. Volcker Fellow in International Economics and the Director of the Maurice R. Greenberg Center for Geoeconomic Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.
He assumes his post on December 30th. I guess he plans to work through New Year’s. . .
This move seriously bums me out (is that how it is said?).
Holtz-Eakin is a Republican — though few would know that. He has been fastidiously non-partisan in his management of the Congressional Budget Office and set an impressively high bar regarding what empiricism in good public policy debate should look like. He reminded me a lot of a younger version of former SEC Chairman William Donaldson, who thought that ideology was the sign of a weak mind.
Holtz-Eakin’s term was not set to end until February 3, 2007 — and while TWN takes him at his word (or his email) that he is departing government service because of a next great opportunity, one wonders whether the political climate in Washington has yet again driven out another excellent, talented policy practitioner. I sincerely hope not.
Holtz-Eakin is the kind of person who owed no one for his views and position. He has moved in and out of Washington policy circles and academia — and is the “model” of an elite-level civil servant that both parties should have in mind when staffing important positions (the antithesis of course, Michael Brown. It is interesting to note that while the Bush administration normally leaves “former” senior officials’ bios up on websites for long periods after their departure, Michael Brown’s bio has been stripped off and is only available on the FEMA site in a cached version or in Spanish.)
If Hillary Clinton, John McCain, Mark Warner, Chuck Hagel, Joe Biden, or some other of that sort wins the presidency in 2008 — they would be well served to put political affiliations aside and get Holtz-Eakin either situated as an “empowered” National Economic Advisor to the President — or quickly on to the Federal Reserve Board.
— Steve Clemons