A Smart Power Mensch

January 11, 2013 By Liz Schrayer


Lew speaking at a USGLC event in 2009

Every four years, folks in Washington play musical chairs, and the past couple of weeks have been no exception as President Obama has made several high profile nominations.  While one may not think the Secretary of Treasury position has a lot to do with global development and diplomacy, today it does more than ever.  And for that very reason, Jack Lew is an exceptional choice.

Throughout his career in both the public and private sectors, Jack Lew has been a true champion of a strong and effective International Affairs Budget.  From an advisor to former House Speaker Tip O’Neill, to two-time Director of the Office of Management and Budget, to Deputy Secretary of State, to White House Chief of Staff, he has been an unwavering and outspoken supporter of America’s global engagement, and I know he will continue to do so at the Treasury Department.

The economic challenges we face as a nation require an approach that takes into account the fact that 95% of consumers live outside of the United States, and America’s leadership in the world is critical to accessing these markets.  As Treasury Secretary, Jack would lead America’s engagement with the Multilateral Development Banks, including the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and the African and Asian Development Banks, working to strengthen economic prosperity, reduce poverty, and partner with the private sector to invest in developing nations.  In doing so, he will be strengthening America’s engagement and leadership in the world, and in turn, our economy.

Just this past September Jack spoke at one of our Impact 2012 events saying, “The international affairs account may be only one percent of the budget.  But President Obama believes that it’s one of the smartest investments we can make.  Investments in the dignity, security and prosperity of our fellow human beings today yield huge dividends for our collective security and prosperity tomorrow.  It’s not just the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do.”

At his confirmation hearing, I hope Jack will have the opportunity to share not only his vast experience, but specifically how he has seen the important role global development and diplomacy play in creating jobs here at home and in growing our economy.

I have had the pleasure of knowing Jack for more than two decades.  Yes, he is one of the smartest and most strategic thinkers in Washington, and he cares deeply about the world that we leave our children.  But for me, I think one of his greatest attributes is that he is a mensch, a Yiddish word meaning a person of integrity and honor.

Congratulations Jack, and I look forward to working with you in promoting American engagement throughout the world.

Read our smart power profile on Jack Lew.