In a blog post on the New York Times website, columnist Paul Krugman says no to serving as treasury secretary. Which is clarifying, even though he was never offered the job anyway.
"Yes, I’ve heard about the notion that I should be nominated as Treasury Secretary. I’m flattered, but it really is a bad idea," writes Krugman.
The first reason Krugman lists is, he admits, that he's "indeed the World’s Worst Administrator — and that does matter."
The second reason: "Oh, and there’s not a chance that I would be confirmed."
But the foremost reason, according to the guy who was never offered the job in the first place, "is that it would mean taking me out of a quasi-official job that I believe I’m good at and putting me into one I’d be bad at."
And, by his own admission, Krugman's better at playing the "outside" game than the inside one. He writes, "The New York Times isn’t just some newspaper somewhere, it’s the nation’s paper of record. As a result, being an op-ed columnist at the Times is a pretty big deal — one I’m immensely grateful to have been granted — and those who hold the position, if they know how to use it effectively, have a lot more influence on national debate than, say, most senators. Does anyone doubt that the White House pays attention to what I write?"
Working for Obama, rather than the Times, would be a step down. "By my reckoning, then, an administration job, no matter how senior, would actually reduce my influence, leaving me unable to say publicly what I really think and all too probably finding myself unable to make headway in internal debates," writes Krugman.
Which is why he is going to stick with his current job. Instead of going to the one that was never offered to him in the first place.