President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness

The President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, originally the President's Economic Recovery Advisory Board, is a panel of non-governmental experts from business, labor, academia and elsewhere that President of the United States Barack Obama created on February 6, 2009. The board reports regularly to Obama and his economic team on possible ways to improve the nation's economy. Obama announced this new board on November 26, 2008, and also announced that it would be chaired by former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker with campaign economic adviser Austan Goolsbee as staff director and chief economist.



The board follows the model of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board (PFIAB), which President Dwight Eisenhower established in 1956.[1] Like the PFIAB, the new advisory board is meant to pierce what Obama called the "insularity" of Washington decision-making processes. In announcing the new board, Obama commented that “The walls of the echo chamber can sometimes keep out fresh voices and new ways of thinking -- and those who serve in Washington don’t always have a ground-level sense of which programs and policies are working.”

The PERAB is intended to provide that ground-level sense, and Obama said that this mission is reflected in the board's diverse membership.[2] Paul Krugman, a Nobel laureate in economics and a noted progressive columnist, has argued that, given the centrist makeup of Obama's economic inner circle, the new board could be used to "give progressive economists a voice." He mentioned James K. Galbraith, Larry Mishel of the Economic Policy Institute, Dean Baker, and Jared Bernstein as progressive economists who might be suitable for the board.[3] Bernstein, however, was subsequently named to a full-time administration position as chief economist and economic policy adviser to Vice President Joe Biden.[4]

According to an Obama transition press release, "The Board will be established initially for a two-year term, after which the President will make a determination on whether to continue its existence based on its continued necessity."[5]

Austan Goolsbee, the board's Chief Economist, made an appearance on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart on August 19, 2009 [6]

According to a March 25, 2009 press briefing by OMB Director Peter Orszag, the administration charged PERAB with proposing approaches to three budget related tasks: simplifying taxation, closing tax loopholes and reducing tax evasion, and reducing corporate welfare.[7]

The board was renewed after its charter expired on February 6, 2011, with a new focus on economic competitiveness, with its name changing from The President's Economic Recovery Advisory Board to the President's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness.[8][9] Volcker was replaced as head of the board by General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt[10] - Volcker is not a part of the reconstituted board[11] and was not consulted about its new makeup.


Volcker was said to be disappointed in how the board was used a public relations tool by the White House, saying that live broadcast of its meetings made honest discussion difficult. According to former U.S. Treasury deputy assistant secretary Joseph Engelhard, “They pretty much used him to look tough on regulation, and now they’re done with him, they’re saying goodbye.”[12]


The President and Mr. Volcker announced the board's membership on February 6, 2009.[13] Members include:

See also

  • Volcker Rule


  1. ^ Weisman, Jonathan (26 November 2008). "Volcker Tapped for Advisory Role" (Article). U.S. Politics (The Wall Street Journal). Retrieved November 26, 2008. 
  2. ^ Chipman, Kim; Dodge, Catherine (26 November 2008). "Obama Names Volcker to Head Panel on Reviving Economy" (Article). Worldwide: News (Bloomberg). Retrieved November 26, 2008. 
  3. ^ Krugman, Paul (26 November 2008). "About that advisory board" (Blog). The Conscience of a Liberal (The New York Times). Retrieved November 26, 2008. 
  4. ^ Vice President-Elect Biden Announces Chief Economist
  5. ^ (26 November 2008). "President-elect Barack Obama establishes President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board" (Press release). Newsroom. Retrieved November 30, 2008. 
  6. ^ Gooslbee Daily Show Interview
  7. ^ Transcript from Conference Call with Peter Orszag March 25, 2009. Accessed March 25, 2009.
  8. ^ Puzzanghera, Jim (2011-08-12). "Obama left short-handed on economy". Los Angeles Times.,0,1348621.story. Retrieved 2011-08-13. 
  9. ^ Onaran, Yalman (2011-01-06). "Volcker Sidelined as Obama Reshapes Economic Advisory Panel". Bloomberg. Retrieved 2011-01-06. 
  10. ^ Puzzanghera, Jim (2011-08-12). "Obama left short-handed on economy". Los Angeles Times.,0,1348621.story. Retrieved 2011-08-13. 
  11. ^ Henry, Ed (2011-01-06). "Volcker stepping down from White House advisory post". CNN. Retrieved 2011-01-12. 
  12. ^ Onaran, Yalman (2011-01-06). "Volcker Sidelined as Obama Reshapes Economic Advisory Panel". Bloomberg. Retrieved 2011-01-06. 
  13. ^ Press Release,", 6 February 2009
  14. ^
  15. ^ Business Week Gallogly profile Business Week profile. Previously of Blackstone Group. Retrieved 2-20-09.
  16. ^
  17. ^ Centerbridge company profile Business Week company profile. Retrieved 2-20-09.
  18. ^ Forbes. 
  19. ^ Lozano profile/linkages Muckety profile/linkages, including directorships at The Walt Disney Company, "Bank of America". Retrieved 2-20-09.
  20. ^ White House Names Board of Outside Economic Experts Irwin, Neil and Michael D. Shear. Washington Post. February 9, 2009.

External links

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