So Goolsbee will be gone soon. Is this a signal that the administration wants to take a new direction, or will they replace him with someone just like him, because to do otherwise is to admit they're doing something wrong on the economy?
WASHINGTON -- The White House says Austan Goolsbee, a longtime adviser to President Barack Obama, will resign his post as the chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers this summer to return to teaching at the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business.
Goolsbee has been the face of the White House on economic news, and is a regular every first Friday of the month explaining the administration's take on the latest jobless numbers.
Goolsbee served on the three-member economic council since the start of the administration. He advised Obama during his 2004 Senate race and was senior economic policy adviser during the 2008 presidential campaign.
Here's Ezra Klein on the news:
For two years now, economists on both sides of the political aisle have been begging Congress to cut the obvious deal: significant short-term stimulus paired with two or three or four times as much long-term deficit reduction. We're nowhere near cutting that deal. About half of official Washington is now pretending that tax cuts have nothing to do with deficits and tax increases have no place in closing deficits, a position even conservative economists consider extreme.
Is that why Austan Goolsbee is leaving? Perhaps not. The Chicago economist has been with Obama since the campaign (and in fact worked on his initial Senate campaign). That's a long time to be in the political pressure cooker. It's a long time to be away from your university, and to ask your family to accomodate a new city and new hours and new responsibility and new notoriety. But it can't have helped. If Goolsbee was spending his days crafting major economic policy to help the country dig out of this hole rather than trying to wanly explain that a slow recovery is nevertheless a recovery, the job would've been rather harder to vacate.
Which suggests that the real question isn't who his replacement will be, but whether he or she will matter. The job of the CEA chair is to give the president good economic advice. That's a very important job if the president can take your advice. It's a very dispiriting job if he can't.