Architect of trillion dollar deficits to head Treasury Department
President Obama is set to name his chief of staff Jack Lew to head up the Treasury Department.
Previously, Lew served as Obama's OMB director, presiding over budgets that featured the largest deficits in US history.
What could go wrong?
President Obama recently said he would love to hire a top executive into his administration. But for the job of Treasury secretary, he didn't pick a corporate executive, a famous economist or a former politician - he has decided to tap a trusted adviser, White House Chief of Staff Jacob Lew, an expert on the nation's ongoing budget wars.
Obama on Thursday plans to nominate Lew to take over from Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner, the president's longest-serving economic adviser, a White House official said. The selection, to be announced at 1:30 p.m., signals that Obama's second term will not initially focus on big new ideas to create jobs or expand government investment in the economy.
Rather, it will involve a sustained conflict with congressional Republicans over the nation's finances. The government is likely to face a deadline to raise the $16.4 trillion federal debt ceiling no later than March 1 - as well as a series of deep and automatic spending cuts known as sequestration set to begin around the same time.
These upcoming battleswill once again pit Democrats' economic vision against that of Republicans. Democrats say they want to raise taxes on the wealthy to shrink the deficit but reduce government spending sparingly so as to preserve funding for domestic priorities such as education. Republicans oppose new taxes, saying they would crimp economic growth, and favor deep cuts to spending.
Lew, 57, is a veteran of these fights. He was formerly the budget director for Obama and President Bill Clinton. He has been negotiating compromises over taxes and spending since the 1980s, when he was a top aide to then-House Speaker Thomas P. "Tip" O'Neill Jr. (D-Mass.).
"Jack Lew is a great budget man taking over Treasury at exactly the moment that budget and tax issues have become the dominant economic issue in Washington," said Austan Goolsbee, a former chairman of Obama's Council of Economic Advisers.
Lew has minimal experience in business, having served a short stint at Citigroup. Breitbart notes he received a $950,000 bonus following the government's $45 billion bailout of the bank. Other than that. Lew's experience has been in government and academia - a perfect fit for an administration bereft of talent on its economic team.