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Presidential Economics

Several months ago, I noted that a few countries had recently elected an economist as president, and solicited suggestions for which U.S. economist might make a good president.

Among the many suggestions (including Gary Becker, Walter Williams, Thomas Sowell), one prominent name failed to appear: Jeffrey Sachs.

But that hasn’t discouraged a group of Sachs fans. The Sachs for President Draft Committee is “a grassroots movement aimed at convincing professor Jeffrey D. Sachs of Columbia University to run for president of the United States of America in 2008 … Our participants include a diverse range of people and views united by this common goal. We currently maintain no affiliation with Dr. Sachs, nor do we align ourselves with any political party or organization.”

In other presidential/economist news, the Washington Post reports today that outgoing Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney has signed up Greg Mankiw and Glenn Hubbard as economics advisors for his presumptive campaign. (If you don’t remember Hubbard as the head of Bush’s Council of Economic Advisors, you may remember him from this swell video.)

And the new blog from The Economist is reporting that John McCain has brought on Doug Holtz-Eakin as his top economics advisor.

Meanwhile, in Estonia, President Bush yesterday lavished praise on the tiny nation for its democratic instincts, its embrace of technology, and especially its flat tax system. Sheryl Gay Stolberg reports in the N.Y. Times that the Estonian flat tax “was the brainchild of the former prime minister, Mart Laar. Mr. Laar was inspired by the only economics book he had ever read, Milton Friedman’s paean to capitalism, Free to Choose. Believing, erroneously, that the flat tax had been put into practice through the West, Mr. Laar introduced it to Estonia.”

All of this makes me wonder which of our many Presidential hopefuls may try to hire Steve Levitt as an economics advisor. Because we gravely downgraded the N.Y.C. “crime miracle” in Freakonomics, I am guessing it won’t be Rudy Giuliani.