January 7, 2013

“Historically Unprecedented” Draft Campaign Gives Public a Chance to Weigh In

For Immediate Release: January 7, 2013
Contact: Dan Beeton, 202-239-1460

Washington, D.C. - In the past few days, more than 200,000 people have signed a petition to President Obama, asking him to nominate Nobel Prize-winning economist and columnist Paul Krugman for Secretary of the Treasury.

“This is historically unprecedented,” said Mark Weisbrot, economist and co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C., who wrote a column for The Guardian online making the case for Krugman. “Never before has the public weighed in on who should be Secretary of the Treasury of the United States.”

Actor and human rights activist Danny Glover, who initiated the petition, said:

"We just had an election in which both candidates for president were talking about how we need to create jobs.  But now that the election is over, all we are hearing about is how we are going to cut the budget. That's not going to create jobs -- if anything it will create more unemployment.  We need a Treasury Secretary who understands this, who understands that Wall Street -- not the government -- caused the Great Recession and needs to be reined in, that austerity in a weak economy doesn't work -- in the U.S. or around the world.  Paul Krugman understands all this and he would be a great pick for Treasury Secretary."  (Glover is also a member of CEPR’s Board of Directors).

Paul Krugman has said he is not interested in the job.

But Weisbrot said, “This is a draft that is coming from the grassroots.  As with drafts for political candidates, those drafted generally have multiple opportunities to reconsider in light of popular demand.  And this is truly popular demand. This petition shows what people really want in terms of the direction of U.S. economic policy."

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