Volcker to Head New Advisory Panel

President-elect Barack Obama today named a new group of economists to advise him and told the country that “help is on the way.” From the Washington Post:

President-elect Barack Obama named a board of economic experts from outside the government to advise him, in his latest bid to reassure nervous consumers and financial markets that he will bring swift economic relief as president.

Obama made the announcement Wednesday in Chicago at a morning news conference in which he tried to reassure Americans that “help is on the way” for the economy.

Obama named former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker to head the panel.

The panel ā€” called the President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board ā€” is intended to help Obama bring stability to the financial markets and create jobs.

Former Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker, 81, will head the President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board, while the board’s top staff official will be Austan Goolsbee, a University of Chicago economist.

“He pulls no punches,” Obama said of Volcker. “He seems to be fairly opinionated.”

Volcker is credited with stomping out inflation during his tenure at the Fed, but he did so by pushing interest rates to record highs and tripping a short term recession. He is known as a man with strong opinions, and an impeccable reputation. Another good choice by President elect Obama.


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3 Responses to Volcker to Head New Advisory Panel

  1. Jules Gordon says:

    Your Honor,

    Wasn’t he the fellow who headed up the investigation of the “food for oil” program the UN had with Iraq. It was the same program that saw the French and Germans skim from the programs.

    Results: No one found guilty; no one punished; purloined money never returned; friends protected.

    Is that the guy?



  2. Bill Manzi says:

    Volcker ran an honest look at that program. The biggest media critic of food for oil was the Wall Street Journal, and they wrote the following about the Volcker Commission look into this program, which was riddled with fraud:

    “So it was that the largest fraud ever recorded in history came about. Press reports often cite the overall size of Oil for Food at $60 billion, but Mr. Volcker’s report makes clear that the real figure was in excess of $100 billion. From this, Saddam was able to derive $10.2 billion from illicit transactions. But the important point is that he was able to steer 10 times that sum toward his preferred clients in the service of his political aims.
    None of this happened by accident. Mr. Volcker’s report is replete with examples of incompetent U.N. oversight and tales of political wrangling among the permanent members of the Security Council. But the abiding fact is that it was the Western powers, not Saddam, who wanted Oil for Food at virtually any cost, because it offered the appearance of a meaningful policy in the absence of a real one, namely regime change. And it was the political convenience of this chimera that led the U.S. and the U.K. to tolerate, and the rest of the Security Council to feast on, the opportunities for corruption that were inscribed in the very nature of the program.”

    And Volcker’s Commission did indeed allege serious wrongdoing. But keep in mind that Volcker was working as the head of a U.N. Commission, with no ability to prosecute wrongdoing. He was only able to expose it.

    “This is an excerpt from the latest report of Paul Volcker’s Independent Inquiry Committee on the United Nations’ Oil for Food program. Benon Sevan, the former director of the Office of Iraq Program (OIP) that oversaw Oil for Food, has been accused by the Committee of taking nearly $150,000 in bribes from Iraq. “The 38th Floor” refers to Secretary General Kofi Annan’s offices at U.N. headquarters. The “661 Committee” was a U.N. Security Council body, outside of Mr. Annan’s Secretariat, which helped oversee the Oil for Food program.”

    I do not think he whitewashed that investigation.


  3. Jules Gordon says:

    Your Honor,

    Thank you for your detailed report. I am complaining about justice. Volker’s report identified some of the culprits.

    In the end, though, No one found guilty; no one punished; purloined money never returned; friends protected.

    Should Volker have complained?

    (I issue no complaint about Obama’s assignment of Volker to his team)



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