Seven things to know about Austan Goolsbee
2) Many people thought Goolsbee was going to chair the Council of Economic Advisers initially. Instead, the position went to Christina Romer, and Goolsbee was named one of the panel's three members. He was also the staff economist for Paul Volcker's recovery panel. So this is an obvious promotion, not an unexpected shake-up.
3) Obama has now had two major vacancies on his economic policy team, and he's replaced both with internal candidates. Jack Lew took over Peter Orszag's job, and Goolsbee is moving up to Romer's position. Whatever is going on politically, it's quite clear that Obama is happy with the economic advisers he's got, and the advice they've been giving him. There's no sign that Obama is interested in a major course correction, at least not on the economic policy side.
4) Goolsbee has a reputation as one of the liberal economists on the team, but that's more a byproduct of his populist rhetorical style than actual populism. He's a serious free-market guy, and his much-reported showdown with Larry Summers came because he wanted to let Chrysler fail, while others in the administration wanted the administration to intervene and save it.
5) His academic work was mostly -- though not exclusively -- on tax policy. Look for him to play a major role if the administration decides to pursue serious tax reform. He also wrote a bunch of columns for Slate.
6) The promotion is partly a recognition of Goolsbee's surprising communication skills. He's easily the most likable and able of the team on TV. If you look on YouTube, you'll find videos like "Austan Goolsbee: Master of the One Liner."
7) There are now no women with central roles in the White House's economic process, and no obvious openings.
Photo credit: Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post.
September 10, 2010; 9:18 AM ET
Categories: Obama administration
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