Labor Blasts Obama's Top Economist

Unions worry that candidate is tilting toward Wall Street
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 12, 2008 7:37 AM CDT
Barack Obama's top economics adviser has come in for criticism from labor unions.   (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)
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(Newser) – After locking up the Democratic nomination, Barack Obama moved quickly to bring Clinton supporters into his general election tent, including Robert Rubin, President Clinton's treasury secretary. Jason Furman, an economist closely associated with Rubin, was hired as economic policy director, and that's provoked the ire of labor unions, who see him, along with his mentor, as tilting toward Wall Street, writes the New York Times.

At issue are the campaign's economic priorities: Free trade or preserving jobs? Balancing the budget or public investment? "For years we’ve expressed strong concerns about corporate influence on the Democratic Party,"  AFL-CIO leader John Sweeney tells the Times. Furman says his role is to consult with a broad range of economists to help flesh out Obama's policy directives. "My own views, such as they are, are irrelevant."