Afternoon Must-Read: Jared Bernstein: My Version of the Progressive Agenda Fits on a Little Bag
Over at Equitable Growth: The Federal Reserve Discounts the Bond Market's View: Daily Focus

Evening Must-Read: Jack Lew: Fires Back at Elizabeth Warren

Jack Lew: Fires Back at Elizabeth Warren: 'You need multiple perspectives' | "You need multiple perspectives represented in a department like the Treasury. I think you’re hearing more from the few than from the many.... It is a natural thing for there to be some lingering concerns about whether or not the institutions... that caused the last crisis are truly changed. It’s a lot to expect for the American people who are struggling with wages that are not rising as fast as they should to say everything’s fine."

If Jack Lew wants to say that Antonio Weiss is the best candidate he can find who would accept the position of Under Secretary of the Treasury for Domestic Finance, he should be able to make a much stronger case than that.

The surface case against Antonio Weiss is that the job needs someone who is (a) a superb regulator, or (b) a superb bond seller, and that he is, instead, (c) a superb merger-maker who has (d) profited immensely from the current order on Wall Street and thus inevitably predisposed to assume that the current order on Wall Street is a good one. The case against is that (d) could be accepted if it came with (a) or (b), but it doesn't: it comes with (c) instead.

The deep case against Antonio Weiss is that the Treasury has, from the Senate's perspective, behaved very badly under Obama--starting with its inability to find a way to spend the first $50 billion tranche on mortgage relief that it had promised to spend. As a result, the Treasury deserves no deference--and must overcome a high bar in order to get the people it wants into big cushy plum jobs like Under Secretary of the Treasury.

The deep case for Antonio Weiss is that Under Secretary of the Treasury is not, for him, a big cushy plum present of a job--it pays less by a lot than Lazard, it does not materially boost his future earning power on the future speaker circuit (as it would for an academic), it is the equivalent of taking out the garbage.

Now people like to think that they are doing something useful, and taking out the garbage is a very useful thing to do, and it is very satisfying to look back and think that you have successfully taken out the garbage--especially if you are unsure or ambivalent about the social value of the rest of what you have done in your career. I know that the fact that I may have turned the scales (as everyone working on it turned the scales) in passing the 1993 Clinton Reconciliation bill, and probably was a (one of many) decisive factors in making sure that bill included a major expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit and thus a significant constructive shift in America's income distribution is a great comfort and source of pride to me.

But if the Senate were doing Antonio Weiss a favor by confirming him, it is only that it is letting him have a try at being an effective public servant for part of his career. It is not giving him a big plum cushy job as a present.

And the government functions better when jobs are filled.

So: I ask Elizabeth Warren; I ask Simon Johnson; I ask Franken, Durbin, Shaheen, Sanders, and Manchin; I ask every Republican Senator save Hatch and Bennet: if not Antonio Weiss, who? Who is your Yellen to Weiss-as-Summers? Who is your Warren to Weiss-as-Barr? Who who would take the job would be better at the job than Antonio Weiss, and why?