A Look Into Obama's Coming Economic Policy

Last Updated Nov 28, 2008 10:10 AM EST

If Barack Obama's newly named senior economic adviser is to be heard, expect that the president elect will aggressively trade short-term deficit increases for longer-term actions that create jobs and fix national problems.

Former Harvard President Lawrence Summers was recently named director of the National Economic Council for the incoming administration, and is likely to be highly influential.

So what will he advise? You can read it for yourself, in a September Op-Ed Summers penned for FT.com., written more than a month before the election. In it he supports:

  • More, not less government investment in healthcare, energy and education.
  • Tax relief to enable families to keep spending.
  • Higher deficts, although with a concrete plan to reduce them.
  • Planning to ensure the US is financially viable in the long run by addressing issues of entitlements and fiscal sustainability.
"The best measures," Summers concludes, "would be those that represent short-run investments that will pay back to the government over time or those that are packaged with longer-term actions to improve the budget. Examples would include investments in healthcare restructuring or steps to enable states and localities to accelerate, or at least not slow down, their investments."
  • Sean Silverthorne

    Sean Silverthorne is the editor of HBS Working Knowledge, which provides a first look at the research and ideas of Harvard Business School faculty. Working Knowledge, which won a Webby award in 2007, currently records 4 million unique visitors a year. He has been with HBS since 2001.

    Silverthorne has 28 years experience in print and online journalism. Before arriving at HBS, he was a senior editor at CNET and executive editor of ZDNET News. While at At Ziff-Davis, Silverthorne also worked on the daily technology TV show The Site, and was a senior editor at PC Week Inside, which chronicled the business of the technology industry. He has held several reporting and editing roles on a variety of newspapers, and was Investor Business Daily's first journalist based in Silicon Valley.