A prominent Republican in Washington who consults often with the White House said Mr. Bolten, who is to assume his duties next month, wants Mr. Bush to replace the Treasury secretary, John W. Snow, with someone who can more forcefully communicate the administration's message that the economy is strong.
Republicans said that if Mr. Bush turned to Wall Street for a new Treasury secretary, it could help reassure financial markets, which are increasingly worried about record-high budget and trade deficits.
So, the need is for someone to sell us all on how great the economy is doing, not for someone to develop a plan for eradicating the "record-high budget and trade deficits." And come to think of it, the selling and communicating skills being sought for the new Treasury Post remind me of um, oh yeah, the LAST change-over in the economic "team" by this White House.
At last the Bush economic trifecta is complete. John Snow, William Donaldson and Stephen Friedman will now settle into their new jobs, with their first assignment clear: Put out the Administration's tax cut message. The White House wants to make permanent its 2001 tax break, which totaled just over $1.3 trillion. So rather than expire in 2010, as it is currently scheduled to do, the tax cut will live on into perpetuity — or at least until another administration comes in and orders its reversal.
Snow, Donaldson and Friedman are being prepped to tell the American public two things: 1. Tax cuts will jump-start the nation's sluggish economy. And 2. Said tax cut is worth it, even if it happens to drag us into a deficit. Both these messages need to sanded, finished and lacquered for public consumption by the middle of January, when President Bush will deliver his State of the Union address — the domestic cornerstone of which is expected to be economic revitalization. And so, as the new keys to the Bush economic message, Snow, Donaldson and Friedman are our People of the Week.
Will the three deliver believable sound bites? If they don't, they risk a similar fate to that of Paul O'Neill and Larry Lindsay, neither of whom proved capable of selling tax cuts to a wary Capitol Hill. Both men were asked to leave the administration last week in a bout of epic housecleaning.