Saturday, March 28, 2009

Peter Orszag Profile in Today's Times

Peter Orszag is Obama's White House Budget Director. There is a profile piece about him in today's New York Times.

The article describes Orszag as smart, close with Obama (one of his "favorites"), and ambitious in his conception of his role within the Administration.

Orszag's policy passion is health care reform ("He wants to do no less than change the way medicine is practiced, eliminating unnecessary tests and unproven treatments in favor of what he calls a higher-value approach that he says will actually improve health ... his own health care conversion occurred when a doctor told him several years ago that he was at risk for cardiovascular problems. Mr. Orszag changed his diet. Each day he eats the same egg whites for breakfast and salad topped with chicken for dinner").

According to the article, there is a degree of tension between Orszag and Larry Summers, in terms of their relative influence in shaping budget policy (I get the impression that there's tension between Summers and just about everybody else in the Administration!).

Obama released his budget proposal this past week, which I guess is the reason for the "up-close" on Orszag right now. David Brooks, on NPR yesterday, predicted that both (1) the carbon-emission cap and trade proposal and (2) the reduction in the amount of the charitable donation deduction will not survive Congressional mark-up.

159. Would the cap and trade program actually generate revenue for the federal government? If so, how?

160. Are Orszag and the other high-level economic advisers communicating at all with Bush's economic team? Or is it a completely fresh start with no coordination with past policy?

This is kind of funny: I googled Orszag after reading the article, and one of the first things that comes up is "Peter Orszag toupee." It turns out he wears a toupee that, in certain photographs, is very obvious.

161. Has the toupee industry suffered from drugs like Propecia? What percentage of men in America wear toupees?

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