Obama announces Economic Recovery Advisory Board

At his third press conference in three days, the president-elect names Paul Volcker and Austan Goolsbee to the board.


Alex Koppelman
November 26, 2008 9:10PM (UTC)

Suddenly, Barack Obama seems to be a big fan of press conferences. On Wednesday morning, he held his third in three days, this time to announce the creation of the President's Economic Recovery Advisory Board.

"This Board is modeled on the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board created by President Eisenhower to provide rigorous analysis and vigorous oversight of our intelligence community by individuals outside of government -- individuals who would be candid and unsparing in their assessment," Obama said, continuing:

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This new board will perform a similar function for my Administration as we formulate our economic policy... The reality is that sometimes policymaking in Washington can become too insular. The walls of the echo chamber can sometimes keep out fresh voices and new ways of thinking -- and those who serve in Washington don't always have a ground-level sense of which programs and policies are working for people, and which aren't. This board will provide that perspective to me and my Administration, with an infusion of ideas from across the country and from all sectors of our economy -- input that will be informed by members' first-hand observations of how our efforts are impacting the daily lives of our families.

Paul Volcker, a former chair of the Federal Reserve, will head the board. Austan Goolsbee, who's been a key economic advisor to Obama will serve as the board's staff director and chief economist and act as the liaison between the board and the Obama administration. He'll also be nominated to the Council of Economic Advisors, Obama said.

As one of my colleagues pointed out, this new board feels a little bit like it could have been named the "Austan Goolsbee and Paul Volcker Full Employment Board" -- it feels a little redundant, like it was created to give these guys something to do after the other top economic posts were filled.


Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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