Treasury Rumors
Jude Wanniski
December 14, 2000


The Washington Post has a report today that Bush is thinking of asking Larry Summers to stay on as Treasury Secretary. Of course, we might as well have Gore as President if Bush would do this, but it does seem like a rumor which has a grain of truth. We know that Michael Boskin, who was chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors in the last Bush administration, is a longtime tennis pal of Larry Summers. Indeed, Summers won his appointment as chief economist of the World Bank during the Bush period via Boskin's recommendation. Boskin remains close to the Larry Lindsey group around the President-elect and probably was the chief influence in getting Lindsey the job. Lindsey at one time was rumored to be a possible Treasury Secretary but now it is definite that he would remain in the White House compound as head of the National Economic Council, an important post, but not nearly as powerful as Treasury. The Washington Post, of course, would love Summers to stay on at Treasury, but there would be an enormous outcry from Republicans over such an appointment. The only Democrat who would get a warm welcome at Treasury would be Felix Rohatyn, who comes as close to being a supply-side Reaganaut as anyone in his party.

At the same time, there are rumors of other Wall Streeters being high on the list of possibilities, Donald Marron of Paine Webber supposedly one of them. My guess is that a decision has not been made and that the supply-side candidate, Wayne Angell, is at least under consideration. Jack Kemp is carrying this ball, having met with Dick Cheney last Saturday and making a big pitch for Angell. Angell has become the candidate of Reaganauts who were not part of the Bush team at any part of the campaign. He's the only one in the rumor mill who knows the nature of the monetary problems deviling the financial markets and the economy. Anyone else would have to come into Treasury as far down the learning curve as is Bush.

The NYPost has a rumor that the Bush team is thinking of asking New Jersey Sen. Bob Torricelli to take a cabinet post, as New Jersey Gov. Christie Whitman would name a Republican to fill his unexpired term and give the GOP an extra seat -- a cushion in case one of the elderly GOP Senators expires and gives the Democrats a majority. It is hardly likely that Torricelli, who aspires to the presidency, would be part of such a tactic.