Letters to the President: #870 'Goodbye, Mr. Goolsbee'
Austan Goolsbee has been an outspoken defender of President Obama's policies as the U.S. economy struggles.
June 8th, 2011
09:00 AM ET

Letters to the President: #870 'Goodbye, Mr. Goolsbee'

Reporter's Note: One of the president’s big advisers on the economy is packing up his calculator. So I’m firing up my keyboard, once again.

Dear Mr. President,

So Austan Goolsbee is taking the big hike, eh? Two thoughts.

Related: Obama's top economist returning to classroom

First: Did you ever realize his name is an anagram for “Noble to sausage”?

And second: When the economy is stubbornly refusing to surge ahead, leaving your chief economic adviser behind is probably not a bad idea.

At best, one could argue that all of his wise counsel (and I’m sure it has been) was just not the ticket for these times. Maybe that’s not his fault. Perhaps the economy is just that bad. But you and I both know that if a losing football team keeps losing, the owner will still dump the coach, no matter how brilliant he has been in the past.

At worst, of course, is the converse. Maybe Mr. Goolsbee’s ideas have simply been wrong. Perhaps they did not work because they could not work in the circumstances that confront us.

And then there is the cynical view; which is to say, it doesn’t matter if he was wrong or right. You are heading into an election; the economy is still, to borrow your own phrase from a few months back, “stuck in the ditch;” and it might be a good time to change drivers. This way, when the critics close in, you can say that you have upgraded, reworked, reinvigorated your economic team and the new one is better than ever before. Or something like that. In any event, no place loves a fall guy more than D.C., so tossing one out there is seldom a bad notion. It’s kind of like a cowboy jumping off his horse and sending it running through the woods in hopes that the posse will follow it instead of him.

Still, I’m sure it is no fun watching Mr. Goolsbee go. He is a smart guy. And yet, even when he is gone, you’ll still have an economy in the ditch, and only hopes that your new team can finally push it out to the road again.

Call if you can.


Follow Tom on Twitter @tomforemancnn.

Find more of the Foreman Letters here.

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