Austan Goolsbee: U.S. Has Economic Problems But ‘It Could Be a Lot Worse’

[ 0 ] July 25, 2013 |

Former key Obama economic advisor says president has stayed true to his campaign promises and hope for America’s future as Obama gives key speech on U.S. economy 

President Obama on Wednesday said the American economy is stronger than it has been recent years, stressing that had “fought its way back” from the greatest economic collapse since the Great Depression. He also called for a “long-term American strategy, based on steady, persistent effort, to reverse the forces that have conspired against the middle class for decades.” And in a stern warning to Republicans, Obama said the GOP should not try to  create another budget “fiasco” this fall that could derail the progress that’s been made. He blamed the GOP, particularly the House of Representatives, for engaging in an “endless parade of distractions, political posturing and phony scandals.”

“I’m laying out my ideas to give the middle class a better shot. So now it’s time for you to lay out your ideas. You can’t just be against something. You got to be for something,” Obama added during his speech in Galesburg, Ill. 

Ahead of the speech, the Republican National Committee took to Twitter to bash Obama’s economic policies – not least of which, is health care reform. “Fresh ideas anyone? Today marks the 10th time Obama and White House pivot to ‘warmed-over jobs’ messaging,” and “POTUS may need to ‘pivot,’ but Republicans never lost focus on Americans’ top priority: jobs” are just some of the Tweets bashing Obama and his policies.

But Austan Goolsbee, Professor of Economics at The University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business and former advisor to President Obama, recently sat down with genConnect in an interview and said he still has faith in the U.S. economy, and that the “entrepreneurial culture” is the key to America’s economic success. Watch out interview with Goolsbee at at the 2013 Aspen Ideas Festival, below:

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Before joining the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business to become one of the top economic professors, Goolsbee was summoned to the White House as Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors to help solve one of the U.S. economy’s worst economic downturns with President Obama. “It was pretty scary … We had the worst financial crisis of our lifetime,” he said. Furthermore, putting their ideas into action was no easy task: “The actual process of making legislation is a lot messier than the idea is.”

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Austan Goolsbee

Yet Goolsbee says he and Obama still felt hopeful. Obama, he insists, stayed true to his campaign promises and hope for America’s future. “I don’t feel like what they did and what he wanted to do were so far apart,” says Goolsbee.

Among other lessons that Goolsbee from working with Obama is the skill to listen and learn from others –“[President Obama] was and is a very good listener,” says Goolsbee – especially admirable in the increasingly partisan political environment of Washington. It is a key skill that America is losing, Goolsbee believes – “the ability to have a debate without getting mad at each other.”

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What will help get America back on its feet and drive the economy forward is the country’s productive and entrepreneurial spirit. Goosbee insists that incomes, even with the recent downturn, continue to grow steadily, and they have for the past 150 years. “We remain the most productive workforce of any major economy in the world – by a lot, it’s not even close. Any place would happily trade places with the United States in an instant. Yes, we have problems … It could be a lot worse.”

While college graduates may be worried about their futures in the unstable job market, Goolsbee’s confidence in the market and in their training seems to brush off concern. Based on working with his MBA students at Booth, he feels confident with where America is headed. “[Young people] are ready to take on the world. They’re very exciting. They’re very entrepreneurial in a way that the country needs.”

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Austan Goolsbee (right) and President Obama

CLICK for more on Entrepreneurship from genConnect

After working the country’s leader and leaders of tomorrow, what is this economic expert’s best piece of advice he’s every received?

Goolsbee, once again, keeps it in perspective; his parents told him: “The most important thing you’re ever going to do in your life is choose who you’re going to spend your life with … Don’t take that lightly. That matters more to your happiness and the course of your life than anything else.”

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About Austan Goolsbee: Austan D. Goolsbee is a Robert P. Gwinn Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, where he studies the Internet, the new economy, government policy, and taxes. Goolsbee formerly served [...]
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