January 26, 2009

Hello. I'm Doug Elmendorf, the new director of the Congressional Budget Office. I am honored to be appointed to this position and excited to be joining the talented and dedicated analysts here at CBO.

I want to begin by thanking Bob Sunshine, the deputy director of CBO, who has served as acting director since Peter Orszag resigned in November. Bob has earned the admiration and appreciation of everyone at CBO for his dedicated service over many years and his sure-handed leadership during the past two months.

Perhaps I should tell you a little about me: I have spent my career as an economist working on public policy. After receiving my PhD at Harvard, I taught there for several years (including a course on American economic policy) and then moved to Washington. My first job in Washington was as an analyst at CBO (and it's great to be back). Then, I worked in turn at the Federal Reserve Board, the White House Council of Economic Advisers, the Treasury Department, and again at the Federal Reserve. Most recently, I was a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. In the course of these jobs and in my own research, I have spent a great deal of time thinking about budget policy, Social Security, Medicare, national health reform, the financial system, macroeconomic analysis and forecasting, economic volatility, and more.

More important, probably, is to remind you about the role of CBO. Our mission is to provide information to the Congress to help it make effective budget and economic policy. We are committed to providing information that is:

  • Objective representing not our personal opinions but the consensus and diversity of views of experts from around the country;
  • Insightful applying the best new evidence and innovative ideas as well as the lessons of experience;
  • Timely responding as quickly as possible to the needs of the Congress; and
  • Clearly presented and explained so that policymakers and analysts understand the basis for our findings and have the opportunity to question our assumptions.

At this time of financial and economic crisis, and with many long-standing budgetary and economic challenges also demanding attention, policymakers will be making unusually difficult and consequential decisions. We at CBO understand the responsibility we bear in this process and are looking forward to our further opportunity to assist the Congress in its efforts to enact good public policy.

By the way, many people have asked whether I intend to continue this blog, and I am happy to let you know that I will. I hope the blog will continue to increase people's understanding of our work at CBO. Please keep reading.