The Flight of the Technocrats

I do not rejoice in the departure of OMB Director Peter Orszag or the apparent impending departure of Chief Economic Advisor Christine Romer from the Obama Adminstration. They both gave me the impression of being serious, conscientious individuals, unquestionably assets to President Obama’s efforts. I did want to make one point about the departures, though.

Dr. Romer, in particular, is said to be disappointed with the experience she’s had serving in the White House.

I think that was completely predictable and illustrates the problem that technocrats will inevitably encounter. Politics will always trump technical expertise, whether you’re talking about national politics or inter-departmental politics. Experts will never rule. Only the politically influential or acceptable experts will.

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