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February 08, 2006

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Publication Date: Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Portola Valley's Ed Lazear called to Washington Portola Valley's Ed Lazear called to Washington (February 08, 2006)

** President Bush plans to name the Portola Valley resident chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers.

President George W. Bush has asked Portola Valley resident and Hoover Institution fellow Edward P. Lazear to chair the Council of Economic Advisers, a committee of three that provides the president with analysis and advice on domestic and international economic policy.

The appointment, announced last week, is subject to Senate confirmation.

Mr. Lazear would replace Ben Bernanke, who was sworn in February 1 as the 14th chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, succeeding Alan Greenspan.

A senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, the conservative policy research center at Stanford University, Mr. Lezear is also a professor of human resources, management and economics at Stanford's graduate school of business.

He has published more than 100 papers and lectures widely. Previously he taught at the University of Chicago and Brown University.

Mr. Lazear has bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of California at Los Angeles, and a doctorate in economics from Harvard University.

Born in 1948, Mr. Lazear grew up in Los Altos. He is married and has a daughter.

His past government service includes a 2005 appointment to President Bush's nine-person Advisory Panel on Federal Tax Reform.

If Mr. Lazear's nomination is confirmed and if his tenure resembles that of other council chairs before him, much of his time will be spent "putting out fires" by explaining to bureaucrats why the ideas they want to propose to members of Congress don't make good economic sense, said economist Ken Judd, a colleague of Mr. Lazear's and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution.

The chairman also provides objective economic analysis and advice to the president. What happens to that objectivity once the president makes up his mind? "It's the chairman's job to go out there and be a good soldier and sell it (and) put the best possible face on it," said Mr. Judd.

The Almanac attempted to reach Mr. Lazear at his office but was told he is not giving interviews on the advice of the White House.

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