In the history of mankind, many republics have risen, have flourished for a less or greater time, and then have fallen because their citizens lost the power of governing themselves and thereby of governing their state. TR


Austan Goolsbee, Partisan CEA Chairman

One of the changes President Barack Obama has brought to Washington is the refashioning of the formerly staid White House Council of Economic Advisers into a new presidential political attack machine.

Austan Goolsbee, the new CEA Chairman, is hardly the fussy old economist-type who once in sat atop the Council. Oh, he’s an economist alright, but he’s also a former national debating champion, an ex-TV program host, a kind of part-time comedian, and an adviser to Obama’s campaigns. He’s not going to sit in some musty old office perusing dry tabulations of data.

He’s getting out there and helping Obama stick it to the Republicans.

Which is odd, because, ACCORDING TO THE WHITE HOUSE WEBSITE, here’s what he’s supposed to be doing:

The Council of Economic Advisers, an agency within the Executive Office of the President, is charged with offering the President objective economic advice on the formulation of both domestic and international economic policy. The Council bases its recommendations and analysis on economic research and empirical evidence, using the best data available to support the President in setting our nation’s economic policy.


See if you think this sounds objective.

Hmmm. Sounds like kind of a pitchman to me. This is not your father’s CEA Chairman. Here are a few of your father’s CEA Chairmen.

Believe it or not, the first and second guy are different people. I mean, these guys were cut from a mold. They wouldn’t know a teleprompter if you threw one at them. But Austan is different.

Perhaps Austan’s role fits with the president’s presumption that his views must be correct and opposition can only be motivated by political animus.

So let’s kind of act like economists and do a calculation.

If Subjective Obama=Objective, and Austan=Subjective Obama, and Austan=CEA Advice, then CEA Advice=Objective.

It works!

Some Republicans have noticed that the CEA is now an institution that needs taking on. Former Bush White House National Economic Council Director Keith Hennessey, who runs his own blog, recently put together this video to counter Goolsbee’s “White Board,” which is shaping up to be a new White House website institution.

It’s a little long, but if you stick with it you’ll get an interesting preview of the early stages of a debate that will be with us for many years.

5 thoughts on “Austan Goolsbee, Partisan CEA Chairman”

  1. Who you gonna believe, me or your lyin’ eyes? approach from the WH isn’t working.
    Neither of the graphs tell the whole story of the unemployed. The lost jobs were in the millions, the recovered or new jobs are in the thousands. The ‘long con’ continues, but contrary to WH beliefs, we aren’t stupid.

    There is something about proximity to the Oval Office that causes men and women of high moral and ethical behaviour to suddenly become spinners and shaders of the truth. Assuming MrGoolsbee is a certified accountant, he has sworn to follow accepted accounting practices and not to be led by his employer to make deliberate, erroneous conclusions.

    1. “There is something about proximity to the Oval Office that causes men and women of high moral and ethical behaviour to suddenly become spinners and shaders of the truth.” I’ve seen it many times. Thanks srdem

  2. You guys know Goolsbee gives me the jeebs.

    Maybe the biggest thing Bush DID do was make the job look so easy Obama wanted it and thought he’d be dandy at it.

  3. Thank you for posting the final video. I would never have stumbled upon it myself and it was instructive explanation.

    One element I see that is always missing from economic discussions is the quality of the jobs that are lost or gained. A job that does not pay a living wage is not the same thing as a job that does. I know several young parents who are working two or three jobs. Does that mean that, let’s say, five good jobs exist? Or that five jobs of poor quality to the holders exist? Is the loss of a well paid manufacturing job to China really replaced by the creation of a fastfood job that pays less than a living wage?

    Until we look at this element of the job loss/gain equation, we will be using the outmoded 1950s idea that a job could support a family — or support even one person alone.

  4. I do a recession site… – every weekday–and we tell people kids coming up now will have seven careers, not just seven jobs. This came from the DOL, originally. Today I saw that some Christmas stores will be setting up in cheap vacant storefronts–so stores will now come and go. My kid (min wage) hasn’t worked in 2 yrs. We have no car–I tell her to “farm” various businesses in walking distance–stick her head in, be known (but not stalky). My business of writing was being brought down my slop shops like Demand Media,now supplying USA Today and others with recycled garbage they pay $15 for. I can’t go back to direct mail writing–people don’t mail as much. I am disabled and can’t get to a “real” Burger King job or somesuch. The ball keeps turning. But these Washington people have no idea–no idea! I had to give a neighbor five bucks to get her electricity on…she pays on a card…it stays on for whatever amt she can put in.

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