The Cossacks work for the czar
Josh Green liked Laura Tyson's New York Times op-ed on why we need a second stimulus. He liked it so much, in fact, that it convinced him Tyson should be in the administration. "Quick," he writes, "who in the White House could you envision speaking these words on television? I draw a blank."
Not me. I could imagine pretty much everyone in the White House speaking those words because pretty much everyone in the White House believes some variant of Tyson's argument. Larry Summers could've made those points, and so could Tim Geithner. Peter Orszag wouldn’t have had any trouble, nor would Jason Furman or Christina Romer or Austen Goolsbee. If you really wanted the argument to have some punch, Joe Biden or Barack Obama could've been dispatched to make the case.
But none of them are making that argument. And if Tyson was in the White House, she wouldn't be making that argument, either. She wouldn't be allowed to. The judgment is that Congress won't approve a second stimulus, and as such, the administration won't push for such a thing publicly, because the conventional wisdom is that the White House should only fight for policies it can actually see passing. I don't really understand that judgment, but there's nothing in Tyson's op-ed that suggests her presence would alter it. Put her in the White House and she's going to start sounding a lot like everyone else in the White House.
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