Jackie Calmes writes:
"Hamiltonian Democrats" Get New Leader: Former Clinton administration economist Jason Furman will become the new director of The Hamilton Project, a year-old effort of the Brookings Institution to promote a centrist economic strategy. Named for Alexander Hamilton, the nation's first Treasury secretary, the project is better known for its association with his modern successor, Clinton Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, a founder and funder.
Peter Orszag, the project's founding director a year ago, is leaving to become the director of the Congressional Budget Office when Democrats take control of Congress in January. Both Orszag and Furman are veterans of the Clinton administration economic team and proteges of Rubin, now a director of Citigroup Inc. Both have been leading Democratic voices lately in the policy debates over taxes, Social Security, health programs and other fiscal issues.
With protectionist pressures growing amid manufacturing job losses, the Hamilton Project has emerged as an intellectual counterweight to organized labor and liberal groups that want to restrict trade, and a source of policy fodder for potential Democratic presidential candidates, including Illinois Sen. Barack Obama.
Despite the "Hamiltonians'" differences over trade with more liberal Democrats, its policy prescriptions for adjusting to the pain of globalization have much for liberals to agree with. Early next year, for example, new papers on health and education will propose ways to strengthen the social safety net for workers and their families.
In the Clinton White House, Furman was a top staffer for budget and tax issues. He also was an economist at the World Bank and in 2004 was director of economic policy for Sen. John Kerry's presidential campaign. He received his doctorate in economics from Harvard University, under the supervision of N. Gregory Mankiw, who went on to be a top economic adviser to President Bush.