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Voices of Power: Austan Goolsbee

Obama's Money Man Speaks His Mind

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White House economist Austan Goolsbee talks about unemployment, the deficit, and Jon and Kate plus eight.

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Thursday, September 24, 2009

He calls himself a "Jon Stewart Democrat," yet George Will raves about him. Austan Goolsbee, 40, is one of Barack Obama's top economic advisers, but the former University of Chicago professor doesn't suit up as a stodgy number cruncher.

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He was once part of an improv comedy tour in college, has held his comedic own with Stewart and Stephen Colbert, and isn't afraid of speaking his mind. Asked about criticisms that the Obama administration is spending too much money, Goolsbee replies, "In the face of the stiffest recession since 1929, that is not when you try to tighten the belt. It is extremely dangerous to do that. That is exactly what Herbert Hoover did that got us into the Depression."

Watch his entire interview, recorded in Goolsbee's office in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, at http://www.washingtonpost.com/voices-of-power. Find out what he has to say about AIG's outspoken new (and well-paid) CEO, where the unemployment rate is heading, and how he invests his own money.

He also reveals for the first time what glossy magazine has captured his attention -- and it is not the Economist.


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