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The President's Economic Recovery Advisory Board (PERAB) is a new 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 will report regularly to Obama and his economic team on the current economic crisis and possible responses to it. Obama announced this new board on November 26, 2008, and also announced that it will be chaired by former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker with campaign economic adviser Austan Goolsbee as staff director and chief economist. In March 2007, Goolsbee wrote a New York Times op-ed arguing that Congress should not tighten regulations to make subprime lending more difficult. Goolsby said that a mortgage market where "people's decisions [are] unrestricted by the amount of money they have right now" is "more perfect, not more irresponsible." [1] Notably, defaults in subprime mortgages helped trigger the global economic crisis of 2008.

The board follows the model of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board (PFIAB), which then-President Dwight Eisenhower established in 1956.[2] 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 supposed to provide that ground-level sense, and Obama said that this mission will be reflected in the board's diverse membership, which will be announced over the next few weeks.[3] 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.[4] Bernstein, however, was subsequently named to a full-time administration position as chief economist and economic policy adviser to Vice President Joe Biden.[5]

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."[6]

Austan Goolsbee, the board's Chief Economist, made an appearance on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart on August 19, 2009 [7]

According to a March 25, 2009 press briefing by OMB Director Peter Orszag, the administration has charged PERAB with proposing approaches to three budget related tasks: simplifying taxation, closing tax loopholes and reducing tax evasion, and reducing corporate welfare.[8]


The President and Mr. Volcker announced the board's membership on February 6, 2009.[9] Members include:


  1. ^ Goolsbee, Austan (29 March 2007). "‘Irresponsible’ Mortgages Have Opened Doors to Many of the Excluded" (Article). Business: Economic Sense (The New York Times). Retrieved November 30, 2008.  
  2. ^ Weisman, Jonathan (26 November 2008). "Volcker Tapped for Advisory Role" (Article). U.S. Politics (The Wall Street Journal). Retrieved November 26, 2008.  
  3. ^ Chipman, Kim; Dodge, Catherine (26 November 2008). "Obama Names Volcker to Head Panel on Reviving Economy" (Article). Worldwide: News (Bloomberg). Retrieved November 26, 2008.  
  4. ^ Krugman, Paul (26 November 2008). "About that advisory board" (Blog). The Conscience of a Liberal (The New York Times). Retrieved November 26, 2008.  
  5. ^ Vice President-Elect Biden Announces Chief Economist
  6. ^ (26 November 2008). "President-elect Barack Obama establishes President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board" (Press release). Newsroom. Retrieved November 30, 2008.  
  7. ^ Gooslbee Daily Show Interview
  8. ^ Transcript from Conference Call with Peter Orszag March 25, 2009. Accessed March 25, 2009.
  9. ^ Press Release,", 6 February 2009
  10. ^
  11. ^ Business Week Gallogly profile Business Week profile. Previously of Blackstone Group. Retrieved 2-20-09.
  12. ^
  13. ^ Centerbridge company profile Business Week company profile. Retrieved 2-20-09.
  14. ^
  15. ^ Lozano profile/linkages Muckety profile/linkages, including directorships at The Walt Disney Company, "Bank of America". Retrieved 2-20-09.
  16. ^ White House Names Board of Outside Economic Experts Irwin, Neil and Michael D. Shear. Washington Post. February 9, 2009.

External links

  • Video of PERAB Announcement
  • Contact information:; or Send paper statements in triplicate to Emanuel Pleitez Designated Federal Officer, President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board, Office of the Under Secretary for Domestic Finance, Room 1325A, Department of the Treasury, 1500 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20220


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