Must-Read: The first hint of what the Trump administration will be like is right now being provided by the health-care debate. It does not look at all pretty. I would have thought that Jared Kushner, at least, would understand that good technocratic policies have a higher chance of working, and that Trump desperately needs policies to work. But no…

Mark Thoma: Why Trump Needs to Take the Economy More Seriously: Trump’s habit of claiming more credit than he deserves stands in sharp contrast to President Obama’s inability to communicate all of the good things that have happened during his presidency…

…The Obama administration’s lack of effective communication with the public was a big mistake. When Bill Clinton was president, it seemed like you could hardly turn on the TV without seeing someone vigorously and effectively defending his administration, and there was certainly no shortage of people defending George Bush. But, at least as I see it, the Obama administration did not benefit as much as it should have from effective spokespeople in the media (and where were members of the House and Senate for the past 8 years, they dropped the ball too). There is a way in which the Obama administration communicated admirably, but unfortunately, it was mostly with policy wonks. What I will miss the most when Obama leaves office is the excellent work performed by his Council of Economic Advisers. The role of the CEA is to provide objective economic analysis that the president can use to make informed decisions….

What we seem to be getting from the Trump administration, which has floated Larry Kudlow as head of the CEA–he has no formal training in economics–is a slate of appointments that will provide political cover for whatever the administration wants to do. I find that distressing. One of the most important roles of the CEA is to shut down bad ideas, but it looks as if it will be transformed into a cheerleading agency for whatever Trump proposes…. There is a substantial body of both theoretical and empirical analysis of policies such as tax cuts for the rich, the imposition of tariffs, infrastructure spending, shutting down immigration, and the other things Trump has talked about. Even with policies I disagree with, there are good and bad ways to put them into place. Ignoring what economists have learned would be a big mistake. Even with policies I disagree with, there are good and bad ways to put them into place. Ignoring what economists have learned would be a big mistake.