The PJ Tatler

Austan Goolsbee resigns

He was Obama’s top economic adviser and, among other things, the best economic voice they had for presenting the administration’s case to the public via the media. Tonight, he’s out.

Austan Goolsbee is stepping down as chairman of President Obama‘s Council of Economic Advisors, shaking up the White House economic team just as the economic recovery is sputtering.

Goolsbee, one of the White House’s primary spokesmen on the economy, will return to his position as an economics professor at the University of Chicago‘s Booth School of Business, the White House said in an announcement Monday night.

The claim is that the president wants him to stay, but university policy is forcing his hand.  Odd. Just a guess here, but if Rahm Emanuel can get around Chicago’s electoral residency requirements by claiming he was away serving his country, then Goolsbee could get a similar waiver. If he wanted.

The university’s faculty handbook says that leaves of absence don’t normally last beyond one year. A University of Chicago spokesman declined to comment on Goolsbee’s status. Neither Goolsbee nor his press spokesman immediately returned messages Monday night.

Goolsbee was appointed to the chairmanship nine months ago, replacing Christina Romer, who had resigned to return to UC Berkeley. Before that, Goolsbee was part of a senior circle of economic aides who charted a path to the fragile economic recovery.

The administration is losing the man who may be its most effective economic spokesman — not that he was actually effective, just the administration’s most effective.

I don’t think it’s out of bounds to say that this administration, along with its political party, is in a state of disarray.