Obama picks new top economist

September 10, 2010 12:00 am

, WASHINGTON, Sept 10 – US President Barack Obama has chosen Austan Goolsbee, an economics professor currently working in his administration, to chair the Council of Economic Advisors (CEA), an official said Thursday.

Goolsbee will serve as the president\’s top economist in place of Christina Romer, who left last week to return to the academic world, the administration official said on condition of anonymity.

Obama chose Goolsbee at a time when he is trying to convince Americans that his policy prescriptions for moving on from the economic crisis are working, amid stifling unemployment and slower-than-hoped-for economic growth.

The president will likely refer to the appointment on Friday in a press conference he has called to discuss his efforts to revive the economy, as Democrats fear heavy losses in November\’s looming elections.

The council is a three-member panel that provides advice based on economic research and analysis to the president on domestic and international issues.

Goolsbee is currently serving as the chief economist on the president\’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board, which Obama set up to provide outside and independent advice as he navigates the economic recovery.

He has also been one of the three members of the CEA.

Goolsbee, a University of Chicago professor, has been with Obama since he served as an advisor in the president\’s 2008 election campaign.

He is regarded as a competent performer on television and is popular with other members of the White House team.

Obama is not expected to replace two other key members of his economic team, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner or another key advisor Lawrence Summers.

But his budget chief Peter Orszag, who helped frame the massive stimulus package worth roughly 800 billion dollars passed last year, recently left the administration.

Deputy Secretary of State Jacob Lew was chosen by Obama to replace Orszag.

Goolsbee sprung to prominence during the 2008 campaign following reports that he had told Canadian officials that Obama\’s anti-free trade comments as a candidate should not be taken seriously.

He denied the reports and survived the storm, becoming a trusted advisor to Obama.



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