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January 12, 2005

People in the Second Bush Administration

FUGOP tells us about Al Hubbard:

F U G O P : Al Hubbard: Nina Easton['s] insights on Allan Hubbard, just announced by Bush as both the new director of his National Economic Council and assistant to the president for economic policy:

[Dan Quayle's] Competitiveness Council, a continuation of the deregulatory campaign George Bush had waged as vice president, wielded enormous power. It could short-circuit regulatory processes by overruling the decisions of such familiar authorities as the Environmental Protection Agency and the Food and Drug Administration. The council wasn't required to divulge its proceedings or its contacts with outside lobbyists as agencies were. Officially, the council was chaired by the vice president and consisted of half a dozen cabinet secretaries and agency heads. Its executive director... Allan Hubbard, was David [MacIntosh's] boss. But Hubbard had other pressing duties as deputy to [Bill] Kristol...

As an economist, I'm in favor of having OMB take a close look at the drag created by the federal government's regulatory apparatus: somebody should be asking "just how burdensome are these things for the good that they do?" But I make an exception for Quayle's Council on Competitiveness--the job should be done by OMB professionals well-versed in cost-benefit analysis, not by the staff of a Vice President trying to recruit future donors.

Thus I have a bad feeling about this Mr. Hubbard.

Posted by DeLong at January 12, 2005 12:00 PM

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Didn't this Competitiveness Council favor export subsidies as well? Thank goodness Bush41 was a free trader who did not mind contradicting his VP.

Posted by: pgl at January 12, 2005 12:06 PM

I hope he's no relation to L.Ron Hubbard ;-)

Posted by: Stu Savory at January 12, 2005 12:16 PM

Which regulations would you have in mind?

Posted by: Brian at January 12, 2005 12:22 PM

Here is what the local papers have to say about "Hubbs".
My take is party hack and loyal friend to impose message discipline on a department that doesn't affect the inner workings of Bush policy very much. Bush has had a problem for a number of years of lacking an articulate credible spokesperson for his fiscal policy. This is a Bush favor to a loyal supporter, fundraiser and foot soldier.



Posted by: bakho at January 12, 2005 12:49 PM

My question here is a little off the subject. It's about capacity utilization. I saw your blogsite postings from November 2003, from your previous "Brad DeLong's Webjournal." The discussion was about Capacity Utilization. I know you understand capacity utilization better than I do. I thought you might be able to help me answer some questions about it.

Government statistics have just been changed on the monthly capacity utilization %. They've actually changed numbers previously posted. August '04 capacity utilization was changed from 77.2 to 78.3. Sept from 77.3 to 78.1. Oct 04 from 77.7 to 78.6. I have verified this change at 3 different Economic Calendar sites. Today's economic calendar from Yahoo shows Nov. Capacity Utilization as 78.7, instead of 77.7. However, they do not denote any revision. Going back to their December calendar, they still show Nov capacity utilization at 77.7. Briefing.com has actually changed their previous 5-month record to show different numbers for August through October. (I know they changed the previous numbers because I copied down their previous page from 11/24/04. It's as if they simply changed history.) In all previous revisions I've seen, changed numbers were denoted as having been revised. This is the first time I've seen a previous month's economic calendar numbers changed without being noted as "revised from."

Do you know of a reason why they would change the previous numbers, without even acknowledging the revision? Is there some advantage to the Bush administration fudging these numbers upwards? Why would they suddenly increase their previous monthly assessments for capacity utilization? Have they become so arrogant that they think no one will notice?

I really would like to get your input on this. Thanks.


Posted by: Mike at January 12, 2005 02:20 PM

Geeesh, you are so snotty; tucked away in that ivory tower, which is further fortified behind a fortress of Liberal elitism. They are preparing to ram as much as they can down the throats of the unbelievers. The Republicans simply don't care what anyone else thinks. Krugman is by now many shades blue in the face from all of his huffing and puffing, but they do not even acknowledge his existence. However, this does not mean resistence is futile.

Posted by: Cal at January 12, 2005 02:56 PM

Like many of Bush's recent appointees, this appointment had a deafening chorus of "who?" The single qualification of Bush's cabinet appointees seems to be loyalty.

Posted by: Unstable Isotope at January 12, 2005 05:49 PM

Since Bush is a lame duck, and Cheney may not run for president, it seems probable that the rest of the Republicans will now start to back away from many of Bush's harmful proposals--gingerly, and for certain "reasons" so as not to alarm the true-believers, but entirely with the purpose of getting themselves re-elected. So the immediate tactical problem for the administration's Social Security proposal is that Bush must aim his "crisis" at younger workers (he referred to them just yesterday), because the oldsters are already well aware of his shenanigans (and are wise enough not to swallow economic projections fifty years into the future--), and so Congress fears their reprisals at the midterm elections. Everybody knows that getting anybody out to the midterm election besides the older voters is always difficult--indeed it is most probable that in the next election it will be the oldsters, who understand the system of government under which we live, read the newspapers, and have some acquaintaince with reality, who will be sending a curt message to Congress. So Congress is not going to stick its neck out very far for any Bush issue, and especially when Iraq could turn undeniably super-ugly at any moment, making the president into a poisonous pariah. (In fact, Iraq is the one issue that could bring out youngsters to the midterms: to vote against the Republicans, and so avoid being drafted into a bloodbath.) Therefore, Bush has to carry most of the water for this one: the president needs to find a way to shore up public support for Congress so they can vote for his plan. ...He needs help. He needs the mother of all crises! He needs fools screaming night and day. He needs a politician to be called an "economic advisor" who will help wrangle the mass media into whipping up fear amongst the gulled, again. He needs to EXHAUST them with fear!... So, expect lots of cleancut young true-red Americans, camera-struck at their fifteen minutes of fame, eyes gleaming, minds vaporized, and paid under the table to stand next to some older jerk spouting palpable nonsense... An honest economist in the position of economic advisor? It wouldn't work!

Posted by: Lee A. Arnold at January 12, 2005 06:40 PM

Mike -- the cap use revisions were normal data revisions -- no big deal.

Posted by: spencer at January 13, 2005 05:32 AM

Lee A,
Expect another invasion of a mid east country around the time of the mid terms. WMD everywhere!!!
This will be the cover for screwing SSA.

Posted by: dilbert dogbert at January 13, 2005 07:10 AM

Well since the Shrub folks all seem to believe in the Rapture, maybe they will up and ascend to their version of heaven soon!

Posted by: AllenM at January 13, 2005 11:32 AM

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