Friday, February 10, 2017

Think Tank Revolving Door Spinning Fast in New Trump Era

Top officials from the Obama Administration are being scooped up by powerhouse Washington think tanks, while the Trump Administration continues to bring in (and consider) a number of think tank scholars.  Some recent examples include:

  • Jason Furman, the Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors (CEA) in the Obama Administration, who has just joined the Peterson Institute of International Economics (PIIE) as a Senior Fellow.
  • Michael Froman, the US Trade Representative (USTR) under President Obama, has joined the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) as a Distinguished Fellow. 
  • Penny Pritzker, the former US Secretary of Commerce under President Obama, is joining the Board of Trustees of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
  • Mark Calabria, Director of Financial Regulation Studies at the Cato Institute, has been hired as Vice President Mike Pence's chief economist.
  • Paula Dobriansky, who sits on the Board of Directors at Atlantic Council, is being considered for the position of Deputy Secretary of State.  [Elliott Abrams, a Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies at CFR, and John Bolton, a Senior Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), had been in the running for the No. 2 slot at State but that idea was nixed a few days ago.] 

As CNBC has noted, economists are visibly missing in Trump's Cabinet.  Are Trump supporters killing off Trump's connection to think tanks?  Does the White House even need think tanks if they are starting their own internal think tank?