Why Is Peter Orszag Leaving? (And Who Will Replace Him?)

The budget director would become the first Obama cabinet member to resign

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Obama budget director Peter Orszag--he of the power engagement, love child, and famously baffling sex appeal--is resigning. Set to leave in July, according to The New York Times, he would be "the first official to leave the Obama cabinet." Here's the roundup of regulars on what that means:

  • Why Now? Because It's Time "Eighteen months is approximately the median amount of time for the OMB director position," notes ABC's Jake Tapper. Furthermore, "Orszag was director of the Congressional Budget Office for two years before becoming OMB in January 2009."
  • Because He Can Get a Better Gig Elsewhere Douglas McIntyre at Daily Finance points out, as many do, that Orszag " is about to get married and many who know him say he did not plan to stay more than two years." At 24/7 Wall St. he adds that "he certainly get a job in the private sector that will pay him several times what he makes today ... Orszag, like most White House workers in all administrations, may simply be tired from the 80 hour weeks and treks up the hill to be cross-examined by Congress."
  • But Who's Next? "It's time for Washington to play its favorite game," announces The Washington Post's Ezra Klein: "Guess the replacement!"
  • A Couple Choices The Post's Ed O'Keefe lists a number of options, including Gene Sperling (currently a senior advisor to Tim Geithner), Laura Tyson (chair of Clinton's Council of Economic Advisers), Rob Nabors (Orszag's former deputy), Robert Greenstein, and four others.  Mike Allen of Politico gives some of their merits: "Nabors had conflicts with Orszag. But now he attends the 7:30 a.m. senior staff meeting so insiders say his stock never dropped, but only gained in value." Tyson, he says, "would provide the economic team with an effective spokesperson on television. And she'd add gender diversity at the top of the administration." Michael Roston at True/Slant writes that "Obama's pick is likely the one who can do the best to mollify a possible Republican Congress next year."
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