I feel sorry for Kevin Hassett. Of course he made a complete fool of himself two decades ago with his book on Dow 36,000 (still some ways away) with James Glassman, but he has had a good amount of time to get over that embarrassment. When he was appointed CEA Chair for Trump, he was of the few appointments Trump made that received praise, especially in the area of economics. Pretty much everybody else appointed was some combination of corrupt (a bunch of those), incompetent (see abysmal forecasting record of Lawrence Kudlow, NEC Chair), or just plain insane (see warmongering Peter Navarro). A longtime economist at the AEI and a former adviser of earlier GOP presidential candidates, Hassett had a conservative but mostly pretty respectable record, as well as being known as a nice guy. Even many people on the left said nice things about him at the time of his appointment. Indeed, he was not obviously corrupt, incompetent, or insane, despite some mistakes here and there (see Dow 36,000in particular).
Anyway, after getting appointed and Trump becoming president, Hassett has largely disappeared. Near as I can tell, the main time he surfaces was when the CEA put out the Economic Report of the President, the main ongoing official function of the CEA. For decades the CEA was viewed as the main body providing economic policy advice to presidents, and often the CEA Chair actually was the top individual economic adviser to the president, although who that is at any point in time has always ultimately been a matter of personalities. But then for reasons that remain mysterious to me, Bill Clinton created this new body when he came in, the NEC. It (and especially its Chair) was supposed to communicate to the media and Congress, it apparently being viewed that CEA Chairs were too abstract or in the clouds or whatever to engage in such communications. But the question became which of these would have the presidential ear, and more often than not these NEC Chairs have been closer to presidents than CEA Chairs, even though more often than not the case has been that the CEA Chairs have known more about economics than the NEC Chairs. This is ceetainly the case now, with the incompetent Kudlow regularly identified as being Trump’s “top economic adviser,” while the much more competent Hassett has been largely invisible.
Before getting into more recent events, let me note that the Economic Report of the President Hassett and his CEA staff put out avoided making actually incorrect statements, at least that I am aware of. Of course data favorable to the administration was emphasized and arguably overly optimistic projections were made regarding the future impacts of policies, especially the tax cut. But then this is normal CEA behavior in most administrations, putting as positive spin on actual data and making optimistic, but not off-the-wall projections of policies. So far so good, or at least not too bad.