Conservative economists back Jason Furman for key White House post

WASHINGTON -- A group of 11 conservative economists are publicly backing Jason Furman's nomination to head the White House Council of Economic Advisers.

"Although we often disagree with the administration’s policies and differ with Jason on a number of issues, we respect him as a superb analytical economist," the economists, all affiliated with the American Enterprise Institute think tank, wrote in a blog post Tuesday.

"If the Senate confirms his nomination to be the president’s chief economic adviser, we are confident that he will serve the president and the nation with distinction," they said.

President Obama has nominated Furman, a longtime aide, to the key economics post. He would succeed Alan Krueger, who is stepping down after a year and a half in the job to return to teaching at Princeton.

The council chair provides the president with advice and serves as a spokesperson for the administration on job creation and other economic issues.

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Furman was a top economics aide to Obama's 2008 presidential campaign. Since 2009, he has served as principal deputy director of the White House National Economic Council, which coordinates the administration's policies.

"Jason Furman is one of the most brilliant economic minds of his generation," Obama said Monday in announcing the nomination. "He’s won the respect and admiration from his peers across the political spectrum. "

Tuesday's post on the AEIdeas blog showed that and was a strong indicator Furman will not have trouble getting confirmed by the Senate.

Among the economists backing his nomination was N. Gregory Mankiw, a Harvard economist who chaired the council under former President George W. Bush. Mankiw, a visiting scholar at AEI, was Furman's adviser for his doctorate degree in economics at Harvard.

Also signing the post was R. Glenn Hubbard, dean of the Columbia Business School and also a former council chair under Bush.

The group said Furman "has always been willing to work with economists of all ideological persuasions."

And although Furman's policy views are aligned with the administration's, "he recognizes that market mechanisms are the key element in raising living standards" and would be willing to tell Obama if something is a bad idea.

"We have considerable disagreements with President Obama’s economic policies and no doubt will have differences with his future economic agenda,." the economists wrote. 

"We are confident, however, that Jason Furman, if confirmed as CEA chair, will provide President Obama with advice that presents both the advantages and disadvantages of the policy proposals under consideration," the said.

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