The Arena: So far, I am very impressed. Larry Summers at the NEC is brilliant. Tim Geithner at Treasury inspires confidence. Peter Orszag at OMB tells me that we will get honest numbers on which to base policy for a change. And Christina Romer at the CEA puts one of the nation’s top experts on the Great Depression at close hand.
This group has made me realize just how poor Bush’s appointments in recent years have been in the economic area. When slavish political loyalty is apparently the only requirement for a Bush Administration job, and demonstrable competence barely counts at all, it doesn’t tend to attract the best and the brightest. When on those rare occasions, Bush managed to get someone who is competent, there is no evidence that he paid the slightest attention to them, preferring instead the counsel of “Mayberry Machiavellis,” as former White House adviser John DiIulio called them. No wonder we are in the mess we are in.