President Donald Trump on Friday chose Kevin Hassett, an economics adviser to past Republican presidential candidates, to be chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers. Hassett will play a critical role in analyzing the performance of the economy and impact of policy changes.
Hassett is the research director for domestic policy at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank that he joined in 1997. He has provided economic advice to the presidential campaigns of John McCain, George W. Bush and Mitt Romney. With a doctorate in economics from the University of Pennsylvania, Hassett has worked as a senior economist at the Federal Reserve and taught at Columbia University’s business school.
Jason Furman, the CEA chair under former President Barack Obama, hailed Hassett as an “excellent pick” on Twitter.
“He is serious about substance, committed to dialogue, & knows how to navigate DC,” Furman wrote.
An expert on taxes and budget policy, Hassett also co-wrote a paper challenging the National Football League conclusions about the New England Patriots using underinflated footballs to gain an advantage against the Indianapolis Colts in a 2015 playoff game.
Not all of Hassett’s analysis has been prescient. He has faced criticism for co-writing the 1999 book “Dow 36,000,” which predicted a rising stock market shortly before the tech bubble burst and the Dow Jones industrial average tumbled.
The CEA has routinely been filled by leading academic economists and was among the most prominent vacant posts during the early months of the Trump presidency.
Formed in 1946, the CEA is responsible for giving the president economic guidance on domestic and international policy. The post has also been a launching pad for leading monetary policy at the Fed. Previous CEA chairs — Janet Yellen, Ben Bernanke and Alan Greenspan — have served as the past three Fed chairs.