Thursday, December 4, 2008

An Open Letter to Austan Goolsbee

From: Robert Wenzel

Dear Dr. Goolsbee,

Congratulations on being named to the President's Economic Recovery Advisory Board.

I note that in this video you hail President-elect Obama for his willingness to put differing views before him:

Your exact words are "It's very Obama in that he doesn't try to shunt out other views...he wants to bring people with different views to the table."

This struck me, since I have also noted that President-elect Obama has not put anyone on his many economic advisory groups, the CEA, the NEC, and the group that you will be a member of, the President's Economic Recovery Advisory Board, that represents the thinking of the Austrian School of economics.

I find this curious since as President-elect Obama has said, we are in a severe downturn in the economy. As you know, one of the areas of study for which the Austrian School is known is their business cycle theory. And their views do seem to differ from the views of members he has appointed to his advisory groups.

And, as you know, the late Austrian economist Friedrich Hayek won the Nobel Prize for his thought in Business Cycle Theory. Indeed, I was pleased to note on a visit to the University of Chicago, where you are the Robert P. Gwinn Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, that at the University's Gleacher Center, Professor Hayek is honored with the display of his photograph as a Nobel Prize winner and his affiliation with the University of Chicago is noted.

Perhaps there is something I am missing as to why not even one Austrian has been named to the Obama team, if so I would greatly appreciate if you could enlighten me as to what I am missing.

Or perhaps, President-elect Obama is simply not familiar with the Austrian School, and if that is the case, I wonder if it would be possible for you to bring to his attention the fact that as you say, "he wants to bring people with different views to the table" and that he may have missed bringing to the discussion economists from the respected Austrian School, who have unique insights in many areas of economics, but especially in business cycle theory.


Robert Wenzel
Editor & Publisher


  1. Unfortunately I think no politician can endorse the Austrian analysis because the solution is to sit back and let the market repair itself. Much better to throw around a trillion dollars and prosecute businesspeople for insider trading, to show the voters you're doing something.

    I'm trying to think of a clever way to appeal to Goolsbee. Something let, "Let's put the RI in Austan." But I'm drawing a blank.

  2. Well, Goolsbee is the one who says Obama wants differing views and doesn't shunt out views, so let's see if Goolsbee means it, or if he is just a blowhard.