John Irons's Blog


Economic News, Data and Analysis

Treasury Department Morale

Bruce Bartlett, part of the Bush (Sr.) Treasury, wonders about the current morale problem at that department.
I agree that the Treasury ought to have a stronger voice in economic policymaking. He also has an interesting suggestion for a new Treasury Secretary!

NCPA – Opinion Editorial – Restoring The Treasury Department to Preeminence in Economic Policy
As it happens, I know many of the people mentioned in the Post article. From 1988 to 1993, I was deputy assistant secretary for economic policy at the Treasury. Many of the staff people named as leaving due to frustration with O’Neill are people who used to work for me. Over the last 2 years, they have expressed to me directly many of the same concerns highlighted in the Post article.
The basic problem is that O’Neill seems to have little interest in economic policy. Consequently, there really wasn’t much work to do for the people who worked in that area. Eventually, they left for other agencies or simply retired, rather than do nothing.
I think it is only a matter of time before O’Neill departs–either on his own or under pressure. I hope Bush uses the opportunity to reinvigorate the Treasury by appointing a secretary with the stature and the wisdom to know how to use this agency properly in pursuit of the president’s goals. I believe that man is Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan.

Here is the Post article to which he refers.
Perhaps Brad DeLong would like to weigh in?


Filed under: Economics, Policy, Politics



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