Obama to Name Furman as Council of Economic Advisers Head

President Barack Obama nominated Jason Furman, a long-time aide, as chairman of the Council on Economic Advisers at a White House ceremony today.

“Jason Furman is one of the most brilliant economic minds of his generation,” Obama said, and he “never forgets who we are fighting for -- middle class families” and those aspiring to improve their lives.

“Too many young people aren’t sure whether they’ll match the living standards” of their parents, Obama said.

Furman, 42, is a Harvard-trained economist who has advised Obama on economic issues since his first presidential campaign in 2008.

If confirmed by the Senate, Furman would replace Alan Krueger, who is returning his position as the Bendheim Professor of Economics and Public Affairs at Princeton University.

The CEA is one of two main sources of economic advice for the president, providing recommendations and briefings on economic matters and data, including the monthly jobs report. Furman now serves as the principal deputy on the National Economic Council, the other major White House economic body.

Since joining the administration, Furman has often been an advocate for greater fiscal stimulus to promote job creation. Internally, he was a proponent for the “cash for clunkers” program to promote automobile sales as well as a proposal, known as “cash for caulkers,” to give tax credits to help homeowners weatherize their houses.

Public Role

In Obama’s second term, Furman has played a public role in discussing the impact of sequestration, the automatic budget cuts that began to go into effect March 1.

The cuts “will have macroeconomic consequences, cost hundreds of thousands of jobs across the country and jobs throughout the private sector,” Furman said a White House briefing on Feb. 25.

A nomination of Furman, formerly of the Brookings Institution in Washington, would mark the first time Obama has drawn from the Washington policy-research world instead of a university’s economic department or its business school to lead the three-member council.

Furman’s nomination was praised by a number of Republican economists, including Martin Feldstein, who served as President Ronald Reagan’s CEA chairman.

“He was a brilliant student when I knew him in the Harvard PhD program,” Feldstein said. “He understands the economics of tax and budget issues as well as anyone.”

The president’s first CEA chief, Christina Romer, returned to the University of California at Berkeley in 2010. His second chairman, Austan Goolsbee, returned to his position at the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago.

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