Is Mumbo Jumbo an Economic Term?
I have been watching Barack Obama and other members of his economic team attempt to lay the groundwork for Obama’s economic program in Congress over the past week. They seem to be making progress, but their desire to maintain maximum policy-making latitude (underscored with an Obama veto threat) has made following the whole economic rollout enterprise feel a bit like tracking a moving target.
Given my own struggle to get a handle on the precise dimensions of the Obama economic program, I was especially amused to come across this item yesterday. It recounts Democratic Senator Bill Nelson’s public accusation that Obama nominee for director of the Office of Management and Budget, Peter Orszag, was speaking “mumbo jumbo” at his confirmation hearing, rather than providing helpful details on Obama’s plans for the economy to the Senate Budget Committee.
So at least it’s not just me hankering for the Obama team to put a bit more policy meat on the economic bones. But the tradeoff is that we are getting an interesting preview of what may turn out to be a very deliberate (almost conservative) Obama management style in office. I think the frustration expressed by Senator Nelson yesterday is indicative of the incoming Obama Administration’s remarkable ability to make the policy-making process feel both wide open and tightly-controlled at the same time.

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