Today, US President Barack Obama is going to announce further changes to his White House team. Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel is going to step down to run for mayor of Chicago. The President is expected to announce long term staff member Peter Rouseas the interim replacement.
Going back to my Big 15 from August, this is part of #6 “The turning over of the current White House economic team.” To me, this means that the WH house cleaning is almost done for those responsible for his falling poll numbers and ineffective economic policy. The last possible shoe to drop would be US Treasury Secretary Geithner with the markets looking for someone to be brought in from the private sector.
The shift in White House policy towards business was further enhanced by the Politico interview of newly minted CEA chairman Austan Goolsbee.
In it, Goolsbee states that the administration wants to find “common ground” with business organizations in an effort to jump-start a jobs market that remains discouraging.
“This ought to be a bipartisan thing, and a pro-business and pro-job thing. I believe that there’s wide latitude for all of us to get on the page and do that.”
The only problem with this so far is that the Obama administration has spent most of their legislative efforts enacting policy that is the opposite of these words. Therefore, there are two concrete actions the White House could do to find “common ground.”
First, they should reach out to the US Chamber of Commerce and ask for a meeting to discuss joblessness. It is never helpful for the executive branch to be at odds with the largest US representative of business. This would be a de facto mea culpa on economic policy for the Obama administration, but they need to be listening to what policies will bring jobs. The Chamber is a great place to start.
Next after the elections, appoint Erskine Bowlesas your chief of staff. If you’ve noticed, Peter Rouse has been called temporary in his description to the press. Rouse was part of the Podesta-Jarrett-Rouse transition team for Obama and does not signal a shift towards a business friendly policy. This is why a fiscal conservative and former Clinton chief of staff Bowles would be welcome.
While I continue to be an optimist that we have seen the depths of despair for the economy and country, I also believe that we will need to see concrete changes by the White House to validate my belief.
Andrew B. BuschDirector, Global Currency and Public Policy Strategist at BMO Capital Markets, a recognized expert on the world financial markets and how these markets are impacted by political events, and a frequent CNBC contributor. You can comment on his piece and reach him hereand you can follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/abusch.