An article in the Jan. 24 Business section incorrectly said Deputy Treasury Secretary Kenneth Dam announced his departure. Dam is widely expected to be leaving, but no such annoucement has been made. (Published 1/26/03)
R. Glenn Hubbard, chairman of the president's Council of Economic Advisers, is preparing to leave the White House, although no date has been set for his departure.
Hubbard, the architect of President Bush's $364 billion proposal to slash taxes on investment dividends, was widely seen as a rising star in Washington. But according to sources inside and close to the administration, the Columbia University economist was turned down in recent days for the position of deputy Treasury secretary, the post he really wanted. The current deputy, Kenneth W. Dam, has announced his departure.
Responding to a report of his departure in Thursday's Wall Street Journal, Hubbard told reporters in Philadelphia yesterday, "At some point I will [leave], but I don't want to comment on the specific times. But obviously at some point -- I'm not a lifer."
Hubbard's wife and two young sons have continued to live in New York since Hubbard joined the White House economic team. His wife, Constance Pond, acknowledged the strain that the commute has placed on the family. But, she stressed, Hubbard has not said when he would be returning to New York.
It will probably not be too much longer, however. In recent days, senior White House officials have been interviewing Hubbard's apparent successor, N. Gregory Mankiw, a Harvard University economist. Like Hubbard, Mankiw is regarded as something of a wunderkind in economic circles and is the author of a noted economics textbook.
Mankiw is a protege of Martin S. Feldstein, an elder statesman among conservative economists who has strongly influenced Bush's economic policies. Critics of those policies have cited both Mankiw's and Hubbard's textbooks to counter administration claims that the growing federal budget deficit will do little harm to the economy.
Sources close to Hubbard caution that it is not yet certain where Hubbard will go.
Peter R. Fisher, undersecretary of the Treasury for domestic finance, is hoping to take charge of the New York Federal Reserve Bank, possibly leaving open a top spot at Treasury for Hubbard, who has been eager to take a senior policymaking position. But some Hubbard confidants said he would regard the undersecretary position as a demotion from his current post. For months, they added, Hubbard has been telling White House officials that he would have to leave Washington to rejoin his family.
After seeing the Wall Street Journal report, White House budget director Mitchell E. Daniels Jr. told the C-SPAN cable television network, "Like me and a few others in this administration, his family is still . . . in New York, and he and I have talked many times about how wearisome it is to be away from the family as much as that."