Obama names leading economists to advisory panel
www.chinaview.cn 2009-02-07 05:53:45   Print

Special Report: Global Financial Crisis

Special Report: Barack Obama: The 44th U.S. President

    WASHINGTON, Feb. 6 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Barack Obama Friday named a team of leading economists to help him on the stricken economy as he continued to push the Congress to quickly approve his massive stimulus plan.

    The new Economic Recovery Advisory Board, to be headed by Paul Volcker, a former Federal Reserve chairman, will offer independent advice in regular briefings to the president, vice president and their economic team.

U.S. President Barack Obama Friday named a team of leading economists to help him on the stricken economy as he continued to push the Congress to quickly approve his massive stimulus plan.

U.S. President Barack Obama signs an executive order to establish the Economic Recovery Advisory Board in the East Room of the White House in Washington Feb. 6, 2009. (Xinhua/Zhang Yan)
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    Members will include former Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman William Donaldson, TIAA-CREF President-CEO Roger Ferguson and Harvard University professor Martin Feldstein.

    "I created this board to enlist voices to come from beyond the Washington echo chamber, to ensure that no stone is unturned as we work to put people back to work and get our economy moving," said Obama.

U.S. President Barack Obama Friday named a team of leading economists to help him on the stricken economy as he continued to push the Congress to quickly approve his massive stimulus plan.

U.S. President Barack Obama (1st R) speaks before signing an executive order to establish the Economic Recovery Advisory Board in the East Room of the White House in Washington Feb. 6, 2009. (Xinhua/Zhang Yan)
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    "I'm not interested in groupthink, which is why the Board reflects a broad cross-section of experience, expertise, and ideology," he said. "We've recruited Republican and Democrats; veterans of government and the private sector; advocates for business and labor."

    He also joked that "these days everybody thinks they're an economist."

    "This new institution should send a signal of how seriously I take the responsibility of building an economic recovery that is broad and enduring," said the president, adding that these are "extraordinary times."

U.S. President Barack Obama Friday named a team of leading economists to help him on the stricken economy as he continued to push the Congress to quickly approve his massive stimulus plan.

U.S. President Barack Obama (R) speaks as Economic Recovery Advisory Board Chairman and former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker looks on in the East Room of the White House in Washington Feb. 6, 2009. President Obama signed an executive order Friday to establish the Economic Recovery Advisory Board. (Xinhua/Zhang Yan)
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    Before Obama signed the executive order officially creating the board, he addressed the jobs numbers and brought home the individual pains behind those almost incomprehensibly large numbers.

    "Somewhere in America, a small business has shut its doors; a family has said goodbye to their home; a young parent has lost their livelihood, and doesn't know what's going to take its place," Obama said.

    The Labor Department reported earlier Friday that the unemployment rate rose to 7.6 percent in January, the highest level since 1992, as employers slashed 598,000 jobs.

    January's drop, far worse than the 524,000 jobs that economists expected, was followed revised declines of 577,000 jobs in December. The U.S. economy has lost a staggering 3.6 million jobs since December 2007, when the recession began. And about one-half of this decline occurred in the past 3 months.

    Obama urged the Congress to quickly approve his massive stimulus plan, saying the current crisis could "turn into a catastrophe" if the Congress does not act swiftly.

    "We'll continue to get devastating job reports like today's -- month after month, year after year," he warned.

    "It's very important to understand that, although we had a terrible year with respect to jobs last year, the problem is accelerating, not decelerating. It's getting worse, not getting better," said the president. 

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Editor: Mu Xuequan
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