Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Next CBO Director to Hail From Think Tank Land?

With majorities in both the House and Senate, Republicans are said to be considering a wide variety of people to replace Douglas Elmendorf as the next director of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).  Many of those under consideration come from think tanks, including:

  • Donald Marron, Fellow and Director of Economic Policy Initiatives at Urban Institute
  • G. William Hoagland, Senior Vice President, Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC)
  • Alan Viard, Resident Scholar, American Enterprise Institute (AEI)
  • John Cogan, Leonard and Shirley Ely Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution
  • James Capretta, Visiting Fellow, AEI

Elmendorf himself is part of a think tank power couple.  He used to be a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, and his wife Karen Dynan also used to work at Brookings.

In other words, Republicans may be trying to shift the helm of the CBO from being steered by a liberal think tanker to a more conservative think tanker.  [Yes, we know that the Urban Institute is not exactly a bastion of conservative thinking...]

Here is what Charles Blahous (Senior Research Fellow at the Mercatus Center; Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution; and contributor at e21, the economics portal of the Manhattan Institute) has to say about picking the next CBO head.

Does the new CBO Director need to be a Ph.D. or think tanker to be taken seriously?