Friday, February 6, 2009

The Decider

. Friday, February 6, 2009



The White House is finally assembling its advisory committee of "outside experts". I am struck by how narrowly one must define "insider" in order to consider the people selected to serve on this committee "outsiders." Here's the list.

Paul Volker: Former Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve.
Martin Feldstein: Former Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors (Reagan).
Laura D'Andrea Tyson: Former Chairwoman of the Council of Economic Advisors (Clinton).
William H. Donaldson: Former Chairman of the SEC.
Jeffrey Immelt: CEO of GE.
James W. Owens: CEO of Caterpillar.
Richard L. Trumka: Secretary-treasury of the AFL-CIO.
Anna Burger: Secretary-treasurer of the Service Employees International Union.

More importantly, are we really so puzzled about the nature of the current economic crisis that we need another advisory committee? Is the formation of another advisory body filled with inflated egos really going to help produce coherent policy? I find this a portent (and not a welcome one) of an eagerness to discuss and a reluctance to decide.

And though many laughed when W said it, let me quote some Harry S. Truman: "The President--whoever he is--has to decide. He can't pass the buck to anybody. No one else can do the deciding for him. That's his job."

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