Director of the Congressional Budget Office: Who Is Keith Hall?

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Keith Hall took over as director of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), which provides estimates for the Congressional budget process, on April 1, 2015. Hall, a former George W. Bush administration official, became the leader of the CBO just as Congressional Republicans wanted the office to change the way it does business.

 

Hall earned a B.A. in economics and psychology from the University of Virginia and did graduate work in economics at Purdue, earning an M.S. in 1983 and his Ph.D. in 1986. Early in his career he was an assistant professor of economics at the University of Missouri and the University of Arkansas.

 

In 1991, Hall went to work for the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC), first as a visiting scholar. The ITC investigates the effects of dumped and subsidized imports on domestic industries and adjudicates cases involving imports that infringe intellectual property rights. Beginning in 1993, Hall was chief of ITC’s applied economics division and was named in 2001 as the commission’s senior international economist.

 

In 2002, Hall was named chief economist at the Department of Commerce and in 2005 he was made chief economist to Bush’s White House Council of Economic Advisors. Hall in January 2008 was made commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

 

Hall left the bureau in January 2012 and became a research fellow at George Mason University’s Mercatus Center, a conservative-leaning economic think tank. He returned to the ITC in 2014 as its chief economist and director of economics.

 

With Republicans in charge of Congress, Hall was an easy choice for them when Doug Elmendorf’s term expired in 2015. Hall opposes government spending to curb poverty, instead wanting to increase the labor supply. He also is against the Affordable Care Act, saying “it raises the costs of production.” He even opposes Social Security disability benefits saying they’re an incentive for people not to work. SSID benefits top out at $2,663 a month and average $1,165.

 

One of Hall’s challenges is to accommodate Republicans’ desire to use “dynamic scoring” on their economic proposals. Dynamic scoring is supposed to take into account the effects of a proposal on the economy at large, and GOP legislators believe such analysis can make tax-cut proposals look more attractive.

-Steve Straehley

 

To Learn More:

Keith Hall Named USITC Chief Economist and Director of Economics (U.S. International Trade Commission)

CBO Pick Keith Hall a George W. Bush Vet, Government Skeptic (by Brian Faler, Politico)

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