Economists and White House Decisions
AbstractWhile I served in the White House, [as Assistant to the President for Domestic Affairs and Policy and Executive Director of the White House Domestic Policy Staff from 1977-81], Ph.D. economists occupied the positions of Secretary of Labor, Secretary of Commerce, Secretary of Treasury, Director of the Council on Wage and Price Stability, the President's anti-inflation adviser, Chairman and Council Members of the Council of Economic Advisers, and many other senior positions throughout the government. Yet we presided over an economy with double-digit inflation and interest rates and a recession. Presidents of the United States and their White House Staff members expect economists to be omniscient prophets of the future course of the economy, unerring economic policy advisers, and teachers of the mysterious science of economics to often distracted pupils. They expect their economists to provide an economic blueprint for high growth, low inflation, and a guaranteed re-election—but without offending any important constituencies. What is the appropriate role for economists in the White House? What can they realistically be expected to do?
CitationEizenstat, Stuart E. 1992. "Economists and White House Decisions." Journal of Economic Perspectives, 6 (3): 65-71. DOI: 10.1257/jep.6.3.65
- A11 Role of Economics; Role of Economists