1st Edition

Painting the White House Green Rationalizing Environmental Policy Inside the Executive Office of the President

Edited By Randall Lutter, Jason F. Shogren Copyright 2004

    Presidents, like kings, lead cloistered lives. Protecting the president from too much isolation are advisers and aides who help ensure that the administration achieves its policy goals while enjoying broad political support. In economics and environmental policy, where disagreement among stakeholders and expert opinion is especially strong, the president needs good advice about political strategy, as well as unbiased information about the substance of policy issues. It is the latter need that the Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) is intended to address. Painting the White House Green collects personal essays by eight Senior Staff Economists for Environmental and Natural Resource Policy who worked within the CEA from 1992 to 2002. These authors confirm the council's 'severe' view of many environmental initiatives, a perspective that led President Clinton to label his economic advisers as 'lemon suckers.' At the same time, they demonstrate that the emphasis on efficiency was to offer more effective environmental protection at lower cost. Thinking 'green' meant thinking consistently about both economics and the environment. The essays in this innovative book present lively debates on clean air, climate change, and electricity deregulation that pitted economists at CEA, the Office of Management and Budget, and often the Treasury Department, against political advisers in the White House and officials at EPA and other agencies. The essays present vivid portraits of the power plays involved in environmental policymaking, rare insights into presidential decisionmaking, and revealing details of the ways that economic thinking influences-or is neglected-in a wide range of policy decisions.

    Foreword by Janet Yellen Preface About the Contributors Introduction: Lessons from a Hot Seat Randall Lutter and Jason F. Shogren 1. A Tale of Two Policies: Clear Skies and Climate Change William A. Pizer 2. Head in the Clouds Decision-Making: EPA‘s Air Quality Standards for Ozone Randall Lutter 3. Economic Analysis and the Formulation of U.S. Climate Policy Michael A. Toman 4. Saving the Planet Cost-Effectively: The Role of Economic Analysis in Climate Change Mitigation Policy Joseph E. Aldy 5. Making Markets for Global Forest Conservation Jonathan B. Wiener 6. Electricity Restructuring and the Environment Stephen Polasky 7. Do All the Resource Problems in the West Begin in the East? Revisited Jason F. Shogren 8. The Good News and the Bad News from Washington Ray Squitieri References Index


    Randall Lutter is chief economist with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Jason F. Shogren is the Stroock Distinguished Professor of Natural Resource Conservation and Management and a professor of economics at the University of Wyoming.

    'Reveals the way economic analysis is used, and ignored, by top-level policymakers. All eight essays are written by former staff members of the White House‘s Council of Economic Advisors (CEA). . . . It thus presents a thoroughly insider‘s view. . . . Directly or indirectly, climate change is the issue that strings together the essays in the book. . . . All the essays help answer the question of how best to deal with climate change. Each one presents in a different context the analytical tools economists use to protect the environment.' Environment and Planning '[This book] gives a rare inside look at the tensions in economic and environmental policymaking at the top of the U.S. federal structure. . . .Knowledgeable economists show how they dealt with these complex . . . issues in the three past administrations.' Journal of Environmental Science & Policy