In a move that's akin to acknowledging the roof has massive leaks, but you won't consider any solutions that involve anything more costly than putti
November 24, 2009

In a move that's akin to acknowledging the roof has massive leaks, but you won't consider any solutions that involve anything more costly than putting pots and pans under the leaks, President Obama announces he wants to do something about unemployment - but he doesn't want it to cost anything:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama assured Americans on Monday that boosting jobs was a top priority, but gave no specifics about how to meet this goal that some economists say warrants more government spending.

The White House said separately that all "sensible and reasonable measures" would be considered to encourage employment, but also stressed that it must be balanced with the need for the United States to tackle record budget deficits.

"Our economy is growing again for the first time in more than a year," Obama told reporters after a meeting with his Cabinet. "We cannot be sit back and be satisfied given the extraordinarily high unemployment levels that we have seen."

[...] Obama has also said he is interested in solutions that would not cost much public money, warning that adding to the U.S. debt could trigger a double-dip recession.

Reacting in the NY Times, Krugman is, well, appalled:

What? Huh? Most economists I talk to believe that the big risk to recovery comes from the inadequacy of government efforts: the stimulus was too small, and it will fade out next year, while high unemployment is undermining both consumer and business confidence.

Now, it’s politically difficult for the Obama administration to enact a full-scale second stimulus. Still, he should be trying to push through as much aid to the economy as possible. And remember, Mr. Obama has the bully pulpit; it’s his job to persuade America to do what needs to be done.

Instead, however, Mr. Obama is lending his voice to those who say that we can’t create more jobs. And a report on suggests that deficit reduction, not job creation, will be the centerpiece of his first State of the Union address. What happened?

It took me a while to puzzle this out. But the concerns Mr. Obama expressed become comprehensible if you suppose that he’s getting his views, directly or indirectly, from Wall Street.

I suspect a lot of this goes back to what Howard Dean said when I interviewed him: That the young people who came out in record numbers to vote for Obama are concerned about the deficit. Well, isn't it time you put on your teaching hat and explained why that can't be the priority right now, Mr. President?

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