Or a Volcker in a pear tree, if you prefer.
Quick, name the current head of Council of Economic Advisors. Or the head of the National Economic Council. Stumped?
The head of the CEA is Edward Lazear, a former economics professor at Chicago and Stanford GSB. The head of the NEC is Keith Hennessey (I had to look that one up), a former, um, tester for Symantec (a software company), research assistant at a think tank, staffer for a Senate committee, and staffer for Trent Lott, with a masters in public policy from the Kennedy School. (That’s according to Wikipedia.) They are being replaced by Christina Romer and Larry Summers, respectively, two of the most prominent and respected economists in the world.
And now, for an encore, Obama has named Paul Volcker, now the most respected chairman of the Federal Reserve in recent memory, the hawk who choked off high inflation in the early 1980s, as head of the new Economic Recovery Advisory Board.
Does having an all-star lineup of economists and public servants guarantee a sound economic strategy? No, of course not. After all, you should have only one economic strategy, and we know about kitchens and too many cooks. But Obama is clearly trying to project the impression that he is bringing overwhelming firepower to bear on the problem, in an effort to bolster confidence in the markets. He is also signaling that his administration will follow a centrist, or at most moderate Democratic line. (Volcker first joined Treasury under Nixon, and was appointed Chairman of the Fed by Carter and then re-appoitned by Reagan; Geithner is an independent.)
Remember those charges of socialism in the last weeks of the election? The few socialists out there are sure to be disappointed.