Exiting Romer to call for more spending
Christina Romer with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, President Obama and economic advisor Lawrence Summers in March 2009.
(Photo credit: Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post)
In her final speech as White House chief economist, Christina Romer on Wednesday will call on Congress to summon the political will to approve additional spending on the economy.
"Given our long-run fiscal challenges, any additional support should be done in a responsible way...But concern about the deficit cannot be an excuse for leaving unemployed workers to suffer," Romer will say, according to excerpts of the speech distributed in advance by the White House. "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."
The speech, to be delivered at 1 p.m. at the National Press Club, underscores Romer's longstanding view that the chronically high jobless rate requires additonal government action. With unemployment stuck at 9.5 percent - and forecast to stay above 9 percent through much of next year - Romer has been a champion for additional spending, such as the $26 billion in state aid recently approved by Congress.
That $26 billion sum was barely half what the administration requested, whittled down by election-year anxiety about the deficit. Another measure, aimed at boosting small-business hiring, is pending in the Senate. But Romer - an expert on the Great Depression - has made no secret of her opinion that additional federal spending to spur job creation is needed to avert years of high unemployment.
Obama said earlier this week that his advisers are discussing another possible jobs measure. People with knowledge of the talks said such a package is likely to include more tax breaks for business beyond those in the small-business bill, possibly including another temporary reduction in payroll taxes for new hires.
Romer announced last month that she would step down as chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers to return to her old post teaching at the University of California at Berkeley. Though she said the move was primarily for family reasons, Romer is also in the running to head the San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank.
The White House has yet to name a replacement to the three-member council; the posts are subject to Senate confirmation.
September 1, 2010; 8:59 AM ET
Categories: *Economic agenda , Budget and fiscal policy , Federal Reserve , U.S. Economy , Unemployment
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