Tuesday, May 30, 2006

If you had the over, pick up your check 

John Snow seemed to hang on as Treasury Secretary about as long as Generalissimo Francisco Franco stayed dead. But he's done now, replaced by Hank Paulson, CEO of Goldman Sachs. The hold-up over replacing Snow, it says in the article, was that nobody would take the job. Think anyone will give Bush and Josh Bolten -- another Goldman hand now Bush's chief of staff in charge of reinvigorating the executive branch -- any credit for boating a big bass? Don't hold your breath. I cannot wait for the "he's no Bob Rubin" chorus that accompanied Snow's appointment.

So who will set the tone for economic policy in DC now? Ed Lazear currently heads the Council of Economic Advisors, and he's well known among economists but probably not on Wall Street. The other two members? Well, if you knew both their names before exploring that CEA link, you're a bigger wonk than me, and that takes a little doing.

In Rubin's day, he would travel to visit Greenspan fairly regularly. It would be wise for Paulson to get to know Ben Bernanke more regularly, since Bernanke is the guy who Lazear replaced. At any rate, it seems likely that Paulson will get to be more than just a voicebox for the Bush White House. He has experiences nobody around there has, particularly with Bolten off from OMB to the White House staff.