November 26th, 2008
11:05 AM ET
6 months ago

Obama names former Fed chairman to head recovery board

Obama held his third press conference in three days Wednesday.
Obama held his third press conference in three days Wednesday.

CHICAGO, Illinois (CNN) – President-elect Barack Obama Wednesday named former Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker, 81, to lead a new economic recovery board.

"Paul has been by my side throughout this campaign, providing a deep understanding of financial markets, extensive experience managing economic crises, and keen insight into the global nature of this particular crisis," Obama told reporters, calling Volcker "one of the one of the world's foremost economic policy experts."

Obama said a key purpose of the board would be to provide a perspective from outside the walls of the Washington "echo chamber," which he said "can sometimes keep out fresh voices and new ways of thinking."

The announcement came during the president-elect's third news conference in three days on the economic situation.

Austan Goolsbee, a University of Chicago economist who has been one of Obama's top economic advisors, will serve as Staff Director and Chief Economist of the board.

Obama said he would name other members of the board "in the coming weeks." He is due to take office on January 20, 2009.

The board will brief Obama, offering independent, nonpartisan information, analysis and advice to the president as he formulates and implements his plans for economic recovery, Obama's transition office said.

It will be established initially for a two-year term, after which Obama will determine whether to continue its existence based on its continued necessity.

Full story


Filed under: Obama transition
soundoff (186 Responses)
  1. TKW- New Mexico

    It is so refreshing to have an intelligent president. Who cares about the needs of Americans and can surround himself with intelligent people. If Obama doesn't know something, he finds someone who does.

    November 26, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  2. Independent

    Wally well he got what he deserved...absolute ownage form the President elect.

    November 26, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  3. Kim J

    Wally, are you kidding about Ed Henry from CNN. They guy is a reporter asking questions that people want answers to. Obama better get used to being asked things he doesn't want to answer, and some day people will get fed up with him skating around the questions.

    November 26, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  4. Ohio for Obama- Suburbs

    I'm glad that President-Elect slammed that reporter who asked that silly question about changed and why the former Clinton's serving in his administration. With all what's going on in this world, I'm glad he is picking an experience team.

    President-Elect Obama to the reporter "Vision Starts With Me". Wow!!!!

    November 26, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  5. Jack Walden

    So while Obama is busy trying to solve economic issue, the turkey in the white house is trying to tackle the issues of his ilk today -who else but a pair of turkeys.

    November 26, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  6. FAYE, NV

    CHANGE is the chief making major decision for this country, the people being hired are those who will implement the President elect Obama agenda. No more of how things are done in Washington.

    So why are some of you and the media think CHANGE is about who he is hiring. For "goodin an goodin sake" it is that Obama is in charge.

    CNN please post this

    November 26, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  7. Opy from Canada

    Kudos to PE Barak Obama. During his campaign, he promised transparency and as shown by these press conf's that is what the American People are getting at long last. He is giving an outline of his administration and also an outline of the oversight people who will keep the administration honest. Now that is governing for the people.

    Neocons accused him of not having enough experience (even some of his own party) but there is no way that they can say he doesnt have the know-how to get your great country back on its feet and back to its former glory.

    When he is through with getting your country together after 8 years, please send him to Canada – we sure as hell can use him up here to get rid of our Conservative Party who are ruining our country. Steven Harper is a clone of G. W. and it is scary. Some idiots in this country just put him in for a 2nd term and we are now going down the preverbial toilet. Sigh.

    November 26, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  8. David

    UNREAL!! Look at this team that Obama has put together for the economy. Talk about the foxes guarding the henhouse. I really, really thought this guy would be about change and believed it and voted for it. But he is not following through and bringing in these recycled politicians and known crooks. I thing I made a mistake and should have went with Hillary (hey, his cabinet is two-thirds Clintonites anyway).

    November 26, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  9. Joseph

    I think some of you ought to think twice before making comments.

    I am not worried about who asked what kind of questions or who might say it was too easy of a question or too hard.. HE IS PRESIDENT ELECT.

    My concern is , WHEN CAN WE IMPEACH PRESIDENT BUSH? We only have little over 50 days left. CAN WE IMPEACH BUSH ASAP.

    BUSH/CHENY/RUMSFELD BELONG IN GUANTANAMO-

    November 26, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  10. Sandra

    Finally! We have the beginnings of a coordinated team to lead us through, and out of, this mess.

    November 26, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  11. Ken

    Where is Pres. G. Bush in all of this? He is nowhere to be seen. No surprise. That duck was lame back in 2000. Those who voted for him once should ponder their thought processes. Those who voted for him twice need to get their DNA tested to see what species they really belong to.

    November 26, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  12. Texas Trail Kitty

    And the Obama Juggernaut rolls on. Good job Mr. President. I have never seen a President so on top of it, and that includes my now second favorite, Bill Clinton. Have a blessed Thanksgiving with your amazing family.

    November 26, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  13. RH

    Is it common for Presidents-elect to constantly be flanked by henchmen at press conferences? It reminds me of the way NOI leaders conduct themselves – always surrounded by goons.

    November 26, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  14. Texas Teacher

    I'm proud of the choices Barack Obama is making! He is not even in office yet! I think Obama will make the final decisions just as Bush/Cheney did. I would love to have seen the media ask some tough questions of Bush in his press conferences! But as I recall, he only allowed certain people in... and only certain people were able to ask questions! Let's keep that in mind, CNN..... Obama is a new kind of politician.... much more like Clinton that Bush! Praise God! It's the difference between C students and A+ students... try not to attack him the way you attacked Clinton at every hand during the Witch Hunt of the GOP! It's hard enough to be the President without having to fight off sensationalism!

    I don't think that Obama is obliged to bring in people that please the media or anyone else, least of all the Republican Party! His job is to choose people who are highly qualified and that he knows he can work with. He needs to be able to listen to different sides of every issue, so that when he makes a decision it is an INFORMED one!. That is the mark of a good President. HE will make the final decisions of a President, because in actuality he will carry the praise OR blame for those decisions.
    :) Happy Thanksgiving: a day to give thanks for all the Creator has provided.

    Oh, btw, a little side note: I'm not a big history Thanksgiving person. The facts are that those same Pilgrims who were saved from starvation and surely death before that famed first Thanksgiving Day Feast shared with the local Indigenous People; the next morning before down creeped into the village of those same People and slaughtered them in their sleep.

    This is historical fact that you rarely hear, sadly.

    Just an old Indian woman remembering what really happened so long ago.

    November 26, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  15. Texas Teacher

    .... oh, my, there she did it again, commentators..... not "before down".... before DAWN! *heavy sigh* try to make an important point and the old fingers get in the way.... *LOL*

    November 26, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  16. andrew cerillo

    what a contrast....first Mr. Obama with his eloquent speaking style followed by Bush fumbling for words about a stupid turkey. Sorry Ted, you have it wrong..Phil Gramm (R)and his buddies started the economic town turn

    November 26, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  17. Terry from GA

    The media can be rude and ask all the questions they want. They won't get any definite answers or see any plans until Barack is sworn in because we only have one president at a time.

    November 26, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  18. Senator Cleghorn

    Bruce, the reason CNN and the rest of the media is reporting on Obama's policies and plans is that he, at least, has some. Bush "punted" and is reduced to pardoning "Turkeys". 'Nuff said!

    November 26, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  19. Moroni

    It's good to see he's working proactively now to prepare his team for the coming term.

    November 26, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  20. Obama Victim

    another re-tread...............yes..change we can believe in

    November 26, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  21. MissP

    Ed Henry....I believe today that you got your journalism skills from the dollar tree! What in the WORLD do you and some of your friends at CNN not understand about ONE PRESIDENT AT A TIME

    November 26, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  22. Watermann

    Just 22 days after election night and everybody deals with President-elect Obama as if he is already sworn into office and can make decisions for the US. He is not David Copperfield and he will never be even if many people think he is.
    On the other hand everybody seems to accept that the incumbent President and his administration (except Paulson and Gates) are lame ducks and making holidays until January 20. 2009 resp. taking care for their new jobs or hobbies.
    Just leave PE Obama some air to breath. Did you listen Ed Henry from CNN?

    November 26, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  23. Texas Teacher

    Oh.... sorry, commentators..... I see my first comment did post.... my computer froze up, and I had to unplug it.... I thought I had surely simply lost the comment... and, of course, I don't read first.... I just make my comment and then I read the rest. My apologies.... :)

    November 26, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  24. Walt, Belton,TX

    Ivan and Boris Again
    Thomas Sowell
    Wednesday, November 26, 2008

    There is an old Russian fable, with different versions in other countries, about two poor peasants, Ivan and Boris. The only difference between them was that Boris had a goat and Ivan didn't. One day, Ivan came upon a strange-looking lamp and, when he rubbed it, a genie appeared. She told him that she could grant him just one wish, but it could be anything in the world.

    Ivan said, "I want Boris' goat to die."

    Variations on this story in other countries suggest that this tells us something about human beings, not just Russians.

    It may tell us something painful about many Americans today, when so many people are preoccupied with the pay of corporate CEOs. It is not that the corporate CEOs' pay affects them so much. If every oil company executive in America agreed to work for nothing, that would not be enough to lower the price of a gallon of gasoline by a dime. If every General Motors executive agreed to work for nothing, that would not lower the price of a Cadillac or a Chevrolet by one percent.

    Too many people are like Ivan, who wanted Boris' goat to die.

    It is not even that the average corporate CEO makes as much money as any number of professional athletes and entertainers. The average pay of a CEO of a corporation big enough to be included in the Standard & Poor's index is less than one-third of what Alex Rodriguez makes, about one-tenth of what Tiger Woods makes and less than one-thirtieth of what Oprah Winfrey makes.

    But when has anyone ever accused athletes or entertainers of "greed"?

    It is not the general public that singles out corporate CEOs for so much attention. Politicians and the media have focused on business leaders, and the public has been led along, like sheep.

    The logic is simple: Demonize those whose place or power you plan to usurp.

    Politicians who want the power to micro-manage business and the economy know that demonizing those who currently run businesses is the opening salvo in the battle to take over their roles.

    There is no way that politicians can take over the roles of Alex Rodriguez, Tiger Woods or Oprah Winfrey. So they can make any amount of money they want and it doesn't matter politically.

    Those who want more power have known for centuries that giving the people somebody to hate and fear is the key.

    In 18th century France, promoting hatred of the aristocracy was the key to Robespierre's acquiring more dictatorial power than the aristocracy had ever had, and using that power to create a bigger bloodbath than anything under the old regime.

    In the 20th century, it was both the czars and the capitalists in Russia who were made the targets of public hatred by the Communists on their road to power. That power created more havoc in the lives of more people than czars and capitalists ever had combined.

    As in other countries and other times, today it is not just a question of which elites win out in a tug of war in America. It is the people at large who have the most at stake.

    We have just seen one of the biggest free home demonstrations of what happens in an economy when politicians tell businesses what decisions to make.

    For years, using the powers of the Community Reinvestment Act and other regulatory powers, along with threats of legal action if the loan approval rates varied from the population profile, politicians have pressured banks and other lending institutions into lending to people they would not lend to otherwise.

    Yet, when all this blows up in our faces and the economy turns down, what is the answer? To have more economic decisions made by politicians, because they choose to say that "deregulation" is the cause of our problems.

    Regardless of how much suffocating regulation may have been responsible for an economic debacle, politicians have learned that they can get away with it if they call it "deregulation."

    No matter what happens, for politicians it is "heads I win and tails you lose." If we keep listening to the politicians and their media allies, we are all going to keep losing, big time. Keeping our attention focused on CEO pay– Boris' goat– is all part of this game. We are all goats if we fall for it.

    November 26, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  25. Alisha, MN

    I love the way our President-Elect Obama thinks, what a brilliant mind. He is already hitting "the ground running" by surrounding himself with the best and the brightest people around! I hope that we all continue to pray for our nation, the world and the new administration, and that prosperity on every level returns to the states. God bless you and I pray that everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving with their respective families and friends.
    'Tis the season

    ~Alisha

    November 26, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
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