Former chief economist says Congress, Obama need to pass more economic stimulus

On her way out, Christina Romer believes more tools can be used, including the passage of an infrastructure bill

News The Washington Post September 02, 2010
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One of Barack Obama’s own is saying the president needs to once and for all own up to his campaign pledge of improving the U.S. economy.

During a speech at the National Press Club on Sept. 2, departing White House Chief Economist Christina Romer said that Congress needs to make a final push to put the nation’s productivity back on track by passing more tax cuts for businesses and another infrastructure bill.

“[The election year] cannot be an excuse for unemployed workers to suffer,” Romer said. “We have tools that would bring unemployment down without worsening our long-run fiscal outlook if we can only find the will and the wisdom to use them.”

Romer did not go into details as to how to use those economic recovery tools, but in the past she has encouraged the Obama administration to engage in more government spending, which is not sitting well with members of Congress during an election year.

The unemployment rate remains at 9.5%, but the latest jobs report, which is due on Sept. 3, was expected to increase the jobless to 9.6%.

The Senate was expected to pass a small business package that would include some tax cuts and create a $30 billion loan fund to improve access to credit. However, any further stimulus moves would most likely be modest ones.

President Obama did request the passage of $266 billion in emergency spending for the 2011 budget, but Congress passed a significantly lower amount, which, according to Romer, was another bad move.

“As a result [of the lesser amount], the economy has not had all of the additional support that it needed,” she said.

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