Well this is sure to start an interesting discussion.
U.K. newspaper The Guardian wants President Obama to nominate economist Paul Krugman for Treasury Secretary to fill Tim Geithner’s position when he leaves in the coming weeks. The paper thinks Krugman has the stuff to stand up to Wall Street and ignore calls for austerity.
Actor Danny Glover has started a petition on Moveon.org supporting the nomination.
Krugman has been right about the major problems facing our economy, where many other economists and much of the business press have been wrong. A few examples: he wrote about the housing bubble before it collapsed and caused the Great Recession; he has forecast and explained that large budget deficits and trillions of dollars of “quantitative easing” (money creation) would not cause inflation or long-term interest rates to rise; and that the “confidence fairies” would not reward governments that pursued austerity in the face of recession.
Most importantly, Krugman is on the side of the majority of Americans. He has written extensively in favour of policies that favour job creation, explained the folly of budget cutting in the face of a weak economy, and opposes cuts to social security and Medicare benefits.
After all, why should the secretary of the treasury have to prioritise the interests of Wall Street and the “criminal enterprise” of big finance…
Imagine a treasury secretary who favoured employment, poverty reduction and development, rather than unnecessary austerity, in developing countries.
Of course, Krugman’s appointment would have to be confirmed by the Senate, which we know can get a little hairy (see Susan Rice). However, The Guardian argues that Obama has the chutzpah to nominate people outside the box, like Chuck Hagel (a man who wants to get America out of Afghanistan and cut military spending) for Secretary of defence.
It’s a thought.