Who Is Behind Bush Economic Policy? Check out the Ward Room of the White House
Novak, Robert D., The International Economy
Every Wednesday, some eight or nine officials meet in the Ward Room of the White House to discuss economic policy. The group is collegial in the extreme with not much disagreement about anything, but no great decisions are made or even pondered. Most of the policies have been set long ago, and the burden of the talk is how to implement them--especially how to sell the program to the nation and Congress.
There are a surprisingly large number of officials present. In some past administrations, such meetings have been restricted to a "triumvirate" (heads of the Treasury, Budget and Council of Economic Advisers). Officials attending also are unexpectedly diverse. They range from the Vice President of the United States to Cabinet members to middle-level staffers.
Vice President Cheney usually attends, and so does his chief-of-staff, Scooter Libby, and his economic aide, Keith Hennessy. White House Chief-of-Staff Andrew Card is not usually there, but newly anointed Deputy Chief-of-Staff Karl Rove is a recent addition. Regularly attending Cabinet members include Secretary of the Treasury John Snow, newly appointed Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez and Office of Management and Budget Director Josh Bolten.
One former Bush Administration official, who would not be quoted by name, made this criticism of the Wednesday meetings. "It's the wrong people in the wrong place. There are too many people at the table. It should be at the Treasury in the Secretary's office with the Secretary in charge."
But John Snow is just one of many at the Wednesday table, and that reflects the downgrading--which seems more accidental than conscious--of the Treasury in President George W. Bush's administration. With many key posts in the department left unfilled for much of the last year and Snow largely reduced to a salesman's role, Treasury is not the government's economic power house that it has been traditionally.
When Snow …
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Publication information: Article title: Who Is Behind Bush Economic Policy? Check out the Ward Room of the White House. Contributors: Novak, Robert D. - Author. Magazine title: The International Economy. Volume: 19. Issue: 2 Publication date: Spring 2005. Page number: 6+. © 2009 International Economy Publications, Inc. COPYRIGHT 2005 Gale Group.
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