Monday, February 6, 2017

The Death Of Think Tanks

The blogosphere is alive with chatter about the possible death of think tanks.  In marked contrast with previous presidents, Trump has not drawn his economic advisers from think tank land.

Through his first two weeks in office, Trump has only appointed one economist with a Ph.D. to his White House team.  He is Peter Navarro, a 67-year old UC-Irvine professor, who supports President Trump's views on trade.  There are 18,000 members in the American Economics Association, of whom between 95-99% disagree with Trump and Navarro's protectionist approach to international trade.

Apart from Navarro, all of Trump's economic advisers come from the worlds of business, investment, and banking. Many are billionaires. Almost all are men.

The blogosphere has become concerned that Trump may not appoint any professional economists to his Council of Economic Advisers, leaving the three positions vacant.  What if he leaves them vacant for two terms?  (Given the extreme far left direction the Democrat Party is taking, Trump in good health will be easily reelected in 2020.)

Janet Yellen and Stanley Fischer's terms as Chair and Deputy Chair of the Federal Reserve Board expire in 2018.  What if Trump replaces them with businessmen (women), rather than economics professors?

What if the Democrats wise up in 2024 and nominate a businessman (women), instead of a politician, as their party's nominee for president? And what if s(he) chooses all his economic advisers from the business community?

The irrelevance of economic research in think tanks could put many of them out of business.  What if Trump appoints business men and women, instead of professors of education, crime, urban studies, and other fields, to other policy positions in The White House?

Think it can't happen?  But then you were sure that Trump couldn't be elected!

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