Response to Purveyor (Original post)
Tue Feb 26, 2013, 01:40 PM
OKNancy (35,591 posts)
11. I posted snips from two articles in another thread.
I think people should know that he is the reason there is no mention of cuts to Medicare or SS in the sequester deal.
I can see the left going after Brennan, but Lew is the most liberal of all Obama's cabinet. Like what was said in the healthcare debate... don't throw stones at the good because you don't have the perfect.
So just to restate the points, Jack Lew has spent essentially his entire career in public life — on the Hill, in the executive branch, and with universities — though he did spend about 18 months with Citigroup, which I suspect he’ll never live down. He has succeeded in every role he has taken on. He is not spectacular — from my fairly close observations, as they used to say in my high school, he brings his lunch and does an all-day job. He believes deeply in the value of the public sector, and as deeply in the importance of a high-quality public sector, in the importance of getting it right.
He hasn’t spent a lifetime in the financial private sector — I’m personally delighted President Obama did not go that way — but there is no one who knows and understands the complexities of our public finance better than Jack Lew. People always dismiss that as a green eye shade, low order kind of quality. Understanding budgets and public finance is for people who wear breast pocket pen protectors, not for the higher order idea men and women.
But this is a very good nomination, and the odds are high that Jack Lew will be a very good Treasury Secretary. Much more importantly, Jack Lew is the kind of person we all would like to see in public life.
In fact, Lew has a well-deserved reputation for homing in on the values that lurk behind the numbers. Progressives in and out of government in the late 1990s recall him as one of the key defenders of Medicare and Medicaid from the designs of axe-wielding Republicans. “There was no bigger supporter,” one liberal policy maven told me. “He saved Medicaid.” More recently, as a top Obama emissary to the deficit negotiations of the last few years, he’s been dogged in his insistence that Democrats won’t entertain the tiniest pinprick to these programs unless Republicans put revenue on the table.
That, I’d guess, is half the reason Republicans have reservations about him (at least to the extent their reservations are sincere rather than a crass play for leverage). The other half is that Lew is just plain effective. During Obama’s first confrontation with the House GOP in early 2011, John Boehner’s troops were bent on lopping $100 billion off Obama’s budget request for that year, an eye-popping sum to squeeze out of a weak economy. Obama, with Lew as his chief negotiator, eventually compromised at $78 billion, which looked at first like a massive concession, but was a pretty favorable outcome once you read the fine print. As it happened, Lew was able to produce a “headline” number that was large and pleasing to the GOP but ultimately rather meaningless: He’d conjured up cuts to piles of money that weren’t going to be spent anyway, and handed them over to Republicans wrapped in pretty little bows. “Boehner and his guys got snookered by Rob Nabors and Jack Lew,” a senior White House official told me while I was writing a book on the subject. “We protected what we wanted to protect.”
Perhaps not surprisingly, GOP leaders have repeatedly petitioned the White House to send someone other than Lew to join them at the bargaining table. Which points to at least one reason to love his nomination: It’s an instance of Obama emphatically not allowing Republicans to choose their negotiating partner, a rule he hasn’t always observed.
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I posted snips from two articles in another thread.
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