As described by his former colleague, Jared Bernstein:
I’ve worked closely with Jason, and there are few economists I can think of who both get macro (which is to say, see it the way I do) and have such a deep, granular knowledge of federal economic and fiscal policy, in no small part because he’s played a role in shaping those policies since the Clinton years. This is a guy who can hold forth on the history of the tiers of the unemployment insurance system as well as the exemptions in the corporate tax code, including the Senators who snuck them in there.
Roughly speaking, I’d describe the values of Furmanomics thusly:
–Progressive taxation that raises ample revenue;
–Boosting efficiencies and squeezing out inefficiencies in the tax code and the health care system;
–Solidly Keynesian in recession (he was ally in those arguments back in the day);
–Crafting policies with a clear eye to implementation constraints (something you only develop from pretty long experience in the gov’t sector);
–Strong supporter of the safety net (see here, e.g., re the little-known Furman effect).
I'd add a bit to Furman's support of a strong safety net: He tends to believe that the government should leave the economy to be productive and then use the proceeds to fund whatever level of safety net is needed. So back in the day, Furman made waves for being a pro-Wal-Mart progressive. In contrast to some Democrats who thought Wal-Mart needed to be fought, or shackled by regulation, Furman saw Wal-Mart as a success story that was pushing prices down for consumers, and believed that if people thought wages were too low or health benefits to sparse, the way to correct those inequities was through tax credits or universal health care.
And so long as I'm on the topic, back when he was leading the Hamilton Project, Furman had a very creative idea for a universal system of progressively structured high-deductible health-care plans. That, too, tried to merge traditional approaches to economic efficiency with a deep commitment to the safety net. The ship has sailed on that one, but it's worth reading to see how Furman approaches big policy questions.