In the wake of last week’s disastrous jobs report, allies of the Obama administration are expressing extreme frustration at what they see as the White House’s inaction on the issue. But there’s little evidence that Team Obama is listening.
The economy added just 54,000 jobs in May, and long-term joblessness is at a record high. Federal Reserve chair Ben Bernanke admitted this week that the recovery has been “frustratingly slow.”
That bleak news has prompted harsh criticism of the White House from many of the administration’s friends, who view the focus on deficit reduction rather than job creation as badly misplaced, and who want more government stimulus to jolt the economy.
Christina Romer, who stepped down last year as President Obama’s top economics adviser, told The Lookout earlier this week that “the U.S. economy needs help,” and called for more stimulus spending and business tax cuts to encourage hiring.
Even some Democrats on Capitol Hill are losing patience. “I’m not sure what’s gained by giving any oxygen to the incorrect idea that fiscal austerity”–that is, spending cuts–“right now would be expansionary,” a senior Democrat told The New Republic magazine.
And a post on the website of the Campaign for America’s Future, a leading progressive activist group, is entitled: “If the president won’t do something about jobs, who will?” It argues that on the issue, “it seems as if the White House is from Mars and the middle class is from Venus.”