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Goolsbee Gone: Obama’s Economic ‘Dream Team’ Evaporates

With Austan Goolsbee's departure, the collapse of the president's economic team is nearly complete.

by
Richard Pollock

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June 7, 2011 - 12:02 pm
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Last night’s abrupt resignation of President Obama’s top economic advisor was leaked as the country experienced the Weinergate maelstrom. While the country was gripped by the latest depravity committed by the elites who profess they know how to improve our country, it was easy to miss the announcement and its ramifications.

The sudden announcement that the president’s remaining academic economist, Austan Goolsbee, was heading for the exits was a strong indication of our national economic crisis and the turmoil at the top: he resigned after only nine months at the helm. Goolsbee headed the President’s Council of Economic Advisers, Obama’s assembled “wise men.” Last night Goolsbee told his staff he will hang it up for good and return to the calm of university life.  

Two and a half years ago, Goolsbee was part of President Obama’s so-called economic “dream team.” Now he is gone, and new poll numbers suggest Obama’s bid for re-election is seriously imperiled by the “Summer of ’11.” The president truly looks vulnerable, bereft of ideas for economic recovery.

This is a dramatic turnaround for a president who, after all, seemed to be only about ideas. He had many: Guantanamo Bay, rendition, climate change — even ideas about the Cambridge, MA, police’s behavior. But these ideas only work in a comfortable and affluent society. The singular idea of how to create comfort and affluence? That has eluded the president and his small army of left-liberal intellectual economists. They have only had the idea of advocating FDR-style expansions of federal spending, entitlements, and government regulations. That didn’t work, so Goolsbee is headed back to academia.

Two days ago, CBS News reported chronic unemployment is the worst since the Great Depression. And Goolsbee’s announcement occurs less than a week after unemployment officially shot up to 9.1%, manufacturing numbers plummeted, and the housing crisis deepened in virtually all markets.

With Goolsbee’s departure, the collapse of the president’s economic team is nearly complete. The first to leave was the president’s original chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, University of California-Berkeley economist Christina Romer. She holds the distinction of predicting an $800 billion stimulus program would bring joblessness down to 8%.  Also gone is Jared Bernstein, the actual architect of the stimulus, and the man who was behind Vice President Biden’s “Summer of Recovery.”

Other members who have abandoned the president are National Economic Council Director Lawrence Summers, the president’s budget chief Peter Orszag, and Paul Volcker, the chairman of the Economic Recovery Advisory Board.

There are hints of Herbert Hoover in the air.

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