The Jason Furman Chronicles: Another Sign That Obama Is a Closet Centrist?

His new campaign adviser's fondness for free trade is worrisome to many liberals.


The liberal tizzy over Jason Furman, Barack Obama's new economic policy director, continues. Blogger Ezra Klein, a man known to have a soft spot for command-and-control economics, sees the appointment as more proof that President Obama will bring us Clintonomics 2.0 rather than Kucinichomics 1.0. (Trust me, that's the first time that term has ever been used in human history. I just Googled it. Nada.) Here's Klein, seemingly resigned to being disappointed in the putative Democratic nominee:

What I can't figure out about the furor of Barack Obama's decision to name Jason Furman his economic policy director is where have these people been? This is like getting pissed at Project Runway because it's a show about clothes. Austan Goolsbee, Obama's top economics adviser, is from the University of Chicago (business school, which is a bit different than economics department, but still!). When Michael Moore's Sicko came out, he wrote a review of it for Slate that argued against a single-payer solution in America. Obama's social and economic policy has been relentlessly center-left, focused on tax cuts and renewable energy credits. His health plan was the only one of the major three to not even attempt universality. This stuff is no surprise. Obama has many virtues, but his domestic policy has been consistently center-left. Those who're shocked simply haven't been paying attention.... The Left would be smart to convince Obama to add a persuasive, rigorous, labor economist like Jared Bernstein or Josh Bivens to his team, but they shouldn't fool themselves into thinking Obama has just made some staffing error here. Rather, he's been consistent in his economic policies and staff picks throughout the campaign, and there's every reason to think his actions reflect his underlying beliefs.

ME: Obama wants to raise taxes on investments, incomes, and corporations. Obama wants government to intervene as never before into the health insurance market. Obama wants to reorganize the U.S. economy around eliminating carbon emissions. Yet that's not enough for Klein? Hoo-boy.

2008 presidential election
Obama, Barack

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