Every Friday, we choose an alum who has been making headlines—for better or for worse.
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Austan Goolsbee ’91, ’91MA

With huge financial institutions falling like dominoes this week, the presidential campaign may finally be turning away from issues like lipstick on domesticated animals and toward a discussion of the economy. Which means we will be likely hearing more from Austan Goolsbee ’91, ’91MA, the 39-year-old economics professor at the University of Chicago who is Barack Obama’s senior economic adviser. Goolsbee, a skilled debater and member of Skull and Bones at Yale, turned up in the media this week talking about the need for government regulation of markets. “The core issue is pretty easy to understand,” he told The Politico. “We’ve just spent the last eight years operating on the premise that the government shouldn’t be in the business of setting the rules of the road.”

Goolsbee attracted some unwanted attention to the campaign during the primaries, when it was reported that he had assured Canadian officials that his candidate’s talk about revisiting NAFTA was merely political posturing. He has also heard praise from unlikely quarters: “He seems to be the sort of person—amiable, empirical, and reasonable—you would want at the elbow of a Democratic president,” wrote columnist George Will last year, “if such there must be.”

Filed under Graduate School, economics, Skull and Bones, secret societies
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