February 27, 2021

Economic Adviser Pick Is Known as Labor Expert

Among the stimulus policies that Mr. Obama is considering is a temporary hiring tax credit for employers who add to their work force, an idea that Mr. Krueger championed in his earlier stint in the administration. Mr. Krueger was as an assistant secretary and chief economist at the Treasury Department for 17 months, before he returned to his teaching post at Princeton in 2010.

A more modest version of the hiring credit became law but Congressional Republicans blocked its extension last year.

Mr. Krueger, if confirmed by the Senate, will find Republicans even more of a force to be reckoned with against the sorts of ideas he is associated with, including a higher minimum wage. Republicans took control of the House since he left Washington, and party leaders say they will oppose further stimulus measures. Their focus is on cutting spending, despite widespread calls from economists, including the Federal Reserve chairman, Ben S. Bernanke, for a more expansive fiscal policy in a period of weak economic growth and stubbornly high unemployment.

Mr. Obama, in a speech planned for next week, is expected to call for both temporary tax cuts and spending measures to spur hiring in the short term, and long-term steps to reduce spending and raise revenues once the economy fully recovers. But in nominating Mr. Krueger, with his expertise in policies that affect job creation, Mr. Obama passed over some economists better known for deficit reduction policies, including Alan J. Auerbach of the University of California, Berkeley.

The choice of Mr. Krueger reflects Mr. Obama’s policy preferences to strike a balance between job creation and deficit reduction after months in which Congressional Republicans successfully forced action only on spending cuts. Mr. Krueger, who first joined the administration amid the recession, helped design other early stimulus proposals, including the “cash for clunkers” rebate for new car purchasers, the Build America Bonds program to finance infrastructure projects and a credit fund for small businesses.

“As one of this country’s leading economists, Alan has been a key voice on a vast array of economic issues for more than two decades,” Mr. Obama said. “Alan understands the difficult challenges our country faces, and I have confidence that he will help us meet those challenges as one of the leaders on my economic team.”

The ability to win confirmation in the Senate was a certain consideration; Mr. Krueger was successfully confirmed for his prior Treasury post. But the chairmanship of the Council of Economic Advisers is a higher position, and Republicans have become more aggressive about blocking nominees to demonstrate their opposition to White House policies generally. Mr. Obama’s pick for Commerce secretary, John Bryson, remains in limbo three months after his nomination.

If confirmed, Mr. Krueger, who turns 51 next month, would replace the longtime Obama adviser Austan Goolsbee, who returned to the University of Chicago for the academic year. Mr. Krueger “is going to be able to hit the ground running immediately,” Mr. Goolsbee said. “And B, he’s a world-class, respected researcher on job-market policies, job creation and things of that nature. So in that sense he’s a perfect match to the moment.”

Mr. Krueger would be the second former adviser to Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner to take one of the four positions at the core of Mr. Obama’s economic circle; the other is Gene Sperling, a former Treasury counselor who replaced Lawrence H. Summers as director of the White House National Economic Council. With Mr. Krueger and Mr. Sperling, Mr. Geithner has two former subordinates on the White House economic team furthering his influence as the sole remaining member of Mr. Obama’s original economic team.

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=8c36f44bb9bbdac182a96f085d410f15

Speak Your Mind