Obama makes a good pick for economic team

Obama's pick to head his economic council, Alan Krueger, has researched job market and minimum wage.

Larry Downing/Reuters
Labor economist Alan Krueger (left) listens as President Obama announces he will serve as the chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers while in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, Aug. 29, 2011. The selection signaled Mr. Obama's attempt to make good on his promise to focus on the US economy and jobs.

This morning the White House announced its new choice to lead the President's Economic Council, Dr. Alan Krueger, a Princeton University prof and economic blogger. For the first time in as long as I can remember it appears that Barack Obama has finally gotten one right. Krueger has an area of expertise that actually matters: Jobs.

From the New York Times:

Dr. Krueger, 50, was probably chosen in part for his award-winning research on the job market, an asset at a time when the country is suffering from the worst unemployment in a generation.

He is perhaps best known for his research on the minimum wage, in which he used an experiment to determine that raising the minimum wage did not reduce employment. But he has also written, both in his academic work and for the general interest press, about education, happiness, income distribution, social insurance, regulation, terrorism, rock concerts and the environment, among many other subjects. (His non-academic work has included stints as a contributor to the Sunday Business section and the Economix blog of The New York Times.)

His knowledge base puts him in sharp contrast with his predecessor Austan Goolsbee, whose chief area of expertise was fighting with rightwingers on TV talk shows - a skill much more suited for campaigning. As to Obama's ongoing decision to stick with Geithner at Treasury and Immelt in some sort of employment advisory post (as he ships record amounts of GE jobs to China), we'll save all that for another time.

Nice pick, Obama. Hope it leads to some more interesting unemployment policies.

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