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Obama Economic Team

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Barack Obama signaled his tough approach towards restoring the economy to health by assembling a highly-educated, experienced and diverse team to advise him. (Article date: January 18,2009)

1. Obama's Economic Plan

Most of Obama's team helped him put together his economic plan, which has remained consistent. The main change is that the stimulus package has increased from $500 billion to $800 billion since November, 2008.

2. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner

Geithner was head of the New York Federal Reserve Bank, and assured a smooth transition in handling the credit crisis that threw the global economy into recession. Geithner has played a key role in the Federal Reserve's intervention in the crisis since August 2007. He has also served as Undersecretary of the Treasury for International Affairs.

3. Economic Advisory Board President Paul Volcker

Volcker blamed the economic crisis on poor regulation of the financial sector, and advocates tougher restrictions. As Board President, he brought in leaders from business and academia to provide an independent perspective on how to handle the crisis. Volcker was Chair of the Federal Reserve when the economy was experiencing 10% annual inflation rates. Volcker raised rates to 20% and kept them high until he saw that inflation was in check. Volcker, who is in his 80s, was active in Obama's campaign.

4. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke

Although not officially a member of Obama's team, Bernanke will continue to play an important role in resolving the economic crisis. Bernanke has proven his expertise in his creative solutions towards providing liquidity throughout the crisis. He spearheaded new roles for the Fed, such as the bailout of Bear Stearns and AIG.

5. Vice-President Joe Biden

Although he is not an official member of Obama's economic team, Vice-President Biden expertise addresses many of the greatest threats to sustainable economic growth. He is strongly in favor of returning to a balanced budget, and in reducing the federal debt. He would restore U.S. competitiveness through increased funding in education and infrastructure. To pay for this, he would reappropriate Defense Department funds by ending the war in Iraq.

6. SEC Chair Mary Schapiro

Schapiro has experience in securities regulation under several administrations. She has the reputation for being a tough regulator, which will help instill confidence in the markets again. The SEC regulates the stock market, and has been criticized for being lax and for not catching the Bernard Madoff Ponzi scheme.

7. Former-NEC Director Lawrence Summers

Summers has a lot of hands-on expertise in the domestic economy, through his experience as Treasury Secretary (1999-2001) and the global economy, through his tenure as Chief Economist of the World Bank(1991-1993). However, as Treasury Secretary, he oversaw the repeal of the Glass-Steagall act, and advocated deregulation of derivative trading. Many experts blame the repeal of this act and deregulation for the banking credit crisis and resultant recession. Summers returned to Harvard as a professor.

8. Former-OMB Director Peter Orszag

Orszag was the director of the Congressional Budget Office, is a professional economist known for such page-turners as “Saving Social Security”, a 300-page tome boasting 37 pages of footnotes and eight appendices. Whether Mr Orszag will be tough enough with the red pencil, however, is something that his track-record does not tell us. The Office of Management and Budget director oversees $3 trillion in federal spending and plays a pivotal role in setting economic priorities.

9. former-CEA Chair Christine Romer

Romer was a professor of economics at the University of California at Berkeley who specialized in tax policy. The Council of Economic Advisors guides the the President in creating economic policy. It also prepares an annual report on the economy.

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