Feldstein Rules Out Post With Reagan
Porter Advising on Economic Package
Martin S. Feldstein '61, professor of Economics, has informed President-elect Ronald Reagan's transition team that he will not take a position in the new administration.
Feldstein, who has been frequently mentioned for a possible post, said yesterday he wrote Edwin C. Meese III, director of the transition, last month to ask that his name be dropped from consideration.
Another Harvard faculty member--Roger B.Porter '68, assistant professor of Public Policy--has been appointed executive director of economic policy coordination for Reagan's first "100 days" group.
Porter--who has been working under Richard L.Wirthlin, Reagan's chief pollster and director of transition strategy and planning--said last week the assignment involves putting together the economic package Reagan will be presenting soon after taking office. Porter was former president General R. Ford's special assistant on economic affairs from 1974 to 1977.
Feldstein was reportedly a leading candidate to chair the Council of Economic Advisers(CEA), a high-level White House position.
"I'd seen my name in the papers, so I thought I'd tell them my position and simplify their decision-making process," Feldstein said, adding that he had not been formally approached by transition officials about a job prior to writing the letter.
Director of the Cambridge-based National Bureau of Economic Research(NBER)--the official monitor of the U.S. business cycle--Feldstein said "Cambridge is where I belong" and added that he did not want to interrupt his teaching and research at Harvard, where he has been a full professor since 1969. He did not rule out a part-time association with the Reagan White House.
An advocate of reduced federal spending and regulation, Feldstein recently recommended that the government cut aid to disabled workers and airports, and trim revenue sharing funds directed to state and local governments.
Feldstein's work has included a con- troversial study of the U.S. social security system sharply critical of the government's retirement program, which he says has hurt the economy by depleting funds that could be used for investment.
In addition to heading the NBER, Feldstein co-edits the Journal of Public Economics, is a member of several economic associations and was recently named to Time magazine's board of economists.
Feldstein attended Oxford University after graduating from Harvard. He has consulted for government and private groups, and reportedly was considered for--or offered--a spot on the CEA in the Ford administration