Sunday, March 16, 2008

So who are the economic advisers for our presidential candidates?

Recently, I have seen a few articles discussing the economic adviser of McCain (Douglas Holtz-Eakin), Obama (Austan Goolsbee), and Clinton (Gene Sperling). What does an economic adviser do? Freakonomics has some answers (Besides Douglas Holtz-Eakin, the article also contains the responses of Austan Goolsbee, James Bognet, and Leo Hindery):
Douglas Holtz-Eakin, Senior Fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics and economic adviser to John McCain:

Joking aside, an economic adviser has three major roles. The first is to recruit a network of policy experts in the various areas of public policy –- tax, financial regulation, health, Social Security, and so forth. These researchers and practitioners allow rapid access to facts, the history of policy efforts, and the development of policy proposals that the candidate might consider. The second major role is education –- i.e., explaining policies to various constituencies. Perhaps surprisingly, a large part of this is explaining issues to reporters, but it also includes volunteers on the campaign, political organizers, and sometimes the candidate himself. The third job is the hardest: fighting bad ideas. I believe that bad policy will, in the end, be bad politics. However, there are many well-intentioned (and perhaps some less well-intentioned) who would like to see the campaign adopt positions that are not in the national interest.

Here is another article on the economic advisers.

From these advisers (and the debates between their candidates), we can have a better view of where economic policies might be heading once their candidates are elected. However, I'm not sure whether it is my negligence or simply the negligence of the media, nobody seems to be discussing this issue in the 2008 Taiwan Presidential Elections. It could be because real issues aren't as dramatic and intriguing as issues such as the infamous "intruding of Hsieh's HQ."

Vicint Siew, Ma's vice presidential running mate specializes in Economics (Ma once said Siew is his Chief Economic Adviser), but I doubt he has the time and effort to devise their economic policies once he is elected. Besides that, all I can find on google are rumors that Mundell may considering being their economic adviser (the article is in simplified Chinese. Here are some additional information on Mundell).

Hsiang-Kai Lin (林向愷), a NTU Professor of Economics and former director of the Kaohsiung Bureau of Finance (when Hsieh was Mayor), is Hsieh's campaign Chief Policy Director and is named Hsieh's Chief Economic Adviser by some media.

Well, as you can see, with all the information I can come up with, this must be an inconspicuous issue. If you happen to know anything about Ma or Hsieh's economic adviser, please help us out here--your sharing might have a dramatic impact on our future!

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