Presidential Campaign

The economic advisers behind the candidates

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The cast of economic policy wonks advising 2016 presidential candidates includes many well-known veterans to the campaign trail, but also several rookies.

Although Donald Trump’s (R) chief economic adviser will always be The Donald, he has pledged to assemble the best and brightest team to work on the specifics of his economic policy. He recently unveiled a tax reform plan — but who are the economists and policy experts behind it?

{mosads}Hillary Clinton (D), on the other hand, is getting advice from more than 200 economists and academics who were part of her husband’s presidency, her public life spanning several decades and the Obama establishment.

Whereas Clinton has more economic advisers than she can handle, Carly Fiorina (R), uniquely, has been in that role, as chief economic adviser to Republican nominee John McCain in 2008. She knows what she needs and perhaps now that her campaign is taking off, a chief outside economic adviser will emerge.

Thomas Rustici, a virtually unknown professor at George Mason University, is the senior economic adviser to Ben Carson (R). His top priority is using tax reform to spark economic growth. He is devotee of laissez-faire icons Friedrich Hayek, Milton Friedman and James Buchanan. He opposes U.S. support of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank because it ends up funding “thugs,” as he calls them, and corrupt governments.

The Washington Post credited Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) with attracting the GOP’s most sought-after policy expert. Lanhee Chen was policy director for Republican nominee Mitt Romney in 2012 and now teaches law and public policy at Stanford University.

Whom does Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) listen to? Two Nobel Prize laureates: Paul Krugman, whom he would consider for Treasury secretary, and Joseph Stieglitz, whose book The Price of Inequality provides more than enough policy recommendations.

Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-Ky.) campaign tapped Mark Spitznagel, the founder of Universa Investments L.P., a $6 billion hedge fund, as his senior economic adviser. He is a libertarian, a critic of the Federal Reserve and a devotee of Austrian economics, which is very weary of interference in the economy.

Glenn Hubbard, dean of the Columbia University Graduate School of Business, is a veteran adviser to presidential campaigns. He served as Council of Economic Advisers chairman under President George W. Bush. Hubbard subsequently advised Romney in 2012 and was considered a leading contender for Treasury secretary if Romney had won. Today, Hubbard is an adviser to former Gov. Jeb Bush (R-Fla.).

In a blast to the past, there’s the “Committee to Unleash Prosperity,” featuring the supply-side trio of 1980s Reaganomics — Steve Moore, former Wall Street Journal editorialist; Art Laffer of the famous Laffer Curve and a member of President Reagan’s Economic Policy Advisory Board; and Lawrence Kudlow, the chief economist at the Office of Management and Budget under Reagan. They have now teamed up to advise presidential candidates on the keys to pro-growth economic policy.

One should not omit the newest Democratic presidential candidate. Harvard Law Professor Larry Lessig is running to be a “referendum president.” His entire campaign is about campaign finance reform. Once that’s done, he will resign and his vice president will take over. With that singular focus, thanks goodness, for better or worse, he’s just minutes away from Harvard’s Economics department so that U.S. economic policy will not fall by the wayside if he’s elected.

You ought to get to know these unelected, often unknown men and women who behind the scenes are shaping U.S. economic policy. If they bet on the right presidential horse, they will ascend to the Council of Economic Advisers, National Economic Council, Federal Reserve or even the Cabinet and thus determine your economic future.

Bloomfield is president and CEO of the American Council for Capital Formaiotn and was secretary of President Reagan’s Transition Task Force on Tax Policy. Follow him on Twitter @MrCapitalGains.

Tags 2016 presidential campaign Bernie Sanders campaign Donald Trump economic advisers Hillary Clinton John McCain Marco Rubio Rand Paul

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