Tuesday :: Apr 26, 2005

John J. DiIulio Has the Last Laugh

by rayman

One of the truisms with regards to the Bush White House is that there's no difference between politics and policy; or rather, politics is policy. During Dubya's first term, this wasn't a problem, with a cowed opposition and the 9/11 halo. Now, however, the White House's inattention to policymaking is starting to bite them in the ass. First, the Treasury Department has become a joke in the eyes of the international community, as White House apparatchiks are routinely overruling actual economists on crucial decisions, as this Financial Times article, via Brad DeLong, notes:

A tight team of close associates of the president is calling the shots, say current and former administration officials. This group consists of Dick Cheney, vice-president, Andrew Card, the president's chief of staff, Joshua Bolten, director of the Office of Management and Budget, and Karl Rove, the president's political adviser who has assumed a broader co-ordinating role, including overseeing economic policy....

[O]verruling the department on foreign exchange matters, traditionally the Treasury's domain, marked a new departure. It is not clear exactly who made the call on China.... Richard Medley, head of Medley Global Advisors, tells clients that there is no one dominant voice on economic policy.Messrs Cheney, Card, Bolten and Rove, the key decision-makers, take the lead on different economic policy issues.... The White House inner circle is widely acknowledged to consist of very smart people, but they are not economists and do not have financial market backgrounds. Some current and former administration officials worry that when the decisions are taken, there is often no economist in the room...

The White House's disdain for delegating policymaking to people who actually know what they're doing has also hurt the Social Security privatization push, as today's article in The Hill points out. Check out this jab by Peter Ferrara, author of the atrocious Paul Ryan-John Sununu bill:
Peter Ferrara, a senior fellow at the Institute for Policy Innovation (IPI) who is credited as the author of the Ryan-Sununu bill, wrote an op-ed in The Washington Times two months ago that mocked the White House for trying to send the president out to sell personal accounts with a message that they don’t really solve the problem.
Ferrara wrote, “Is it any wonder then that the more George W. Bush talks about personal accounts the lower they sink in the polls?”

Ferrara told The Hill he is trying to help Republicans get on track on Social Security. He accused top Bush administration officials — including Rove and White House Chief of Staff Andy Card — of urging people to tell him to “shut the hell up.”

Ferrara, who is scheduled to testify on Social Security before the Senate Finance Committee today, said Rove, Card and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Josh Bolten lack expertise on the entitlement system and mistakenly believe some Democrats are close to embracing the president’s plan.

“Rove thinks he’s been beatified by the last election,” Ferrara added.

Heh. If the long-term effects on this country weren't so disastrous, I'd actually enjoy watching the White House's policy-phobic meltdown. For now, a bitter dose of schadenfreude will suffice.

rayman :: 6:22 AM :: Comments (10) :: Digg It!