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Obama creates non-Beltway economic panel

Feb. 6, 2009 at 12:18 PM   |   Comments

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WASHINGTON, Feb. 6 (UPI) -- President Barack Obama said Friday he will use his new economic advisory panel to be his eyes and ears as work is done to quash the U.S. economic downturn.

The White House Economic Recovery Advisory Board, whose members are from the corporate, labor and academic worlds, was formed to address and resolve the deepening recession, Obama said before he signed the executive order creating the board.

"And if there is anyone, anywhere, who doubts the need for wise counsel and bold and immediate action, consider the devastating news we just received this morning," Obama said, noting that nearly 600,000 jobs were lost in January, the single-worst month of job loss in 35 years.

"I created this board to enlist voices that come from beyond the echo chamber of Washington, D.C., and to ensure that no stone is unturned as we work to put people back to work and to get our economy moving. ... I'm not interested in groupthink," Obama said. "I will also count on these men and women to serve as additional eyes and ears for me as we work to reverse this downturn."

The board is headed by former Federal Reserve Board chief Paul Volcker, who said, "The one thing we all share is a sense of urgency."

The bipartisan advisory panel includes General Electric Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Immelt as well as James Owens; Richard Trumka, AFL-CIO secretary-treasurer and former United Mine Workers president; one-time Securities and Exchange Commission head William Donaldson; Clinton administration economic adviser Laura D'Andrea Tyson, now dean of the Haas School of Business at the University of California-Berkeley; and Martin Feldstein, President Ronald Reagan's chief economic adviser and current Harvard University economics professor.

© 2009 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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