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Chart of the Week: Obama's Economic Team Lacking Private Sector Experience?

You'd think President Obama would turn to those with experience building businesses as he hired his economic team. But according to the chart below, less than 10 percent of Obama's economy-related Cabinet picks come from the private sector. And that seems well below historical norms.


The economy-related Cabinet positions in this chart include the secretaries of State, Commerce, Treasury, Agriculture, Interior, Labor, Transportation, Energy, and Housing & Urban Development. It excludes the Postmaster General, Navy, War, Health, Education & Welfare, Veterans Affairs and Homeland Security.

I can't vouch for the validity of the source data since the chart originated in a J.P. Morgan report that found its way to publication on the American, an economics blog funded by the American Enterprise Institute. However, on the surface, it certainly looks like Obama has disproportionately relied on public sector bureaucrats when it comes to his Cabinet.
But there are a few reasons to be skeptical. First off, there's a chance that adding all of the Cabinet appointments might make the chart look more balanced for Obama. And secondly, it might be hard to draw sweeping historical comparisons, considering that some Departments, such as Energy, have only existed since the Carter Administration.
And finally, it's worth noting that Obama's economic team has included heavyweights from corporate America such as Warren Buffet, Google's Eric Schmidt and Xerox's Anne Mulcahy. But these advisors, as well as his 44 "czars" who oversee everything from the auto industry to healthcare and climate change policy, are not official members of the Executive branch and they are not accountable to the Senate like the Cabinet picks are. That's the real concern, in my opinion.

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