Entries in Austan Goolsbee (5)


Former Obama Economic Adviser Warns Unemployment Could Rise

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- The economy added more jobs than expected in each of the past three months, pushing down the unemployment rate to 8.3 percent and marking the best six-month streak of jobs numbers since 2008.

But President Obama’s former economic adviser said Sunday that this seemingly rosy economic picture probably won’t last.

“I think the main thing that [President Obama] ought to worry anybody is that the growth rate is probably not as sustainable as at high a rate as it’s been, so the pace of expansion, which for six months has been pretty impressive, it may just slow down a bit,” Austan Goolsbee, now an ABC News contributor, said Sunday on This Week.

Goolsbee said he did not think the economy would plunge into a “double dip” recession, but warned that the growth rate would likely slow from 3 percent to 1.5-2 percent. He also said the unemployment rate, which could be vital to Obama’s re-election, could spike upward after six months of decreasing rates.

“As the economy’s improving, you’re also going to see, as you have the last couple of months, a whole lot of people coming out of the labor force, back into the job market,” Goolsbee said. “So the unemployment rate might actually go back up.”

While having more long-term unemployed people jump back into the work force is good in the long run, former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer said the corresponding uptick in the unemployment rate “could look bad” for the president’s re-election bid.

That mess of economic numbers is not what people are going to be basing their votes on come November, Republican strategist Mary Matalin argued.

“Let me go to the reality zone,” Matalin said on “This Week.” “People who are voting do not measure their economic stability or sustainability on the employment numbers, on the labor force participation, on the Dow or the Nasdaq.  They measure it by the pump, filling up their car.”

Matalin said instead of focusing on the unemployment rate, Obama should train his sights on the rising price of gas, groceries and health care premiums. All of those, she said, are issues that independent voters, who are vital to any candidate’s election success, “blame on Obama.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Austan Goolsbee: Unemployment Rate 'Remains Unacceptably High'

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- In the first reaction from the White House to Friday morning’s dismal jobs report, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers Austan Goolsbee says the country’s 9.2 percent unemployment rate “remains unacceptably high and faster growth is needed to replace the jobs lost in the downturn.”

Despite the fact that the economy added just 18,000 jobs last month, Goolsbee touts growth in the private sector and attributes the slow economic recovery to “headwinds” faced earlier this year.

“Today’s employment report shows that private sector payrolls increased by 57,000 in June and the unemployment rate ticked up to 9.2 percent.  While the private sector has added 2.2 million jobs over the past 16 months, this month’s report reflects the recent slowdown of economic growth due to headwinds faced in the first half of this year,” he writes in a White House blog.

Goolsbee stresses that “it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report.”

“The monthly employment and unemployment numbers are volatile and employment estimates are subject to substantial revision,” he writes.

With the Aug. 2 deadline to raise the nation’s $14.3 trillion debt ceiling fast approaching, Goolsbee says the latest figures highlight “the need for a balanced approach to deficit reduction that instills confidence and allows us to live within our means without shortchanging future growth.”

“Today’s report underscores the need for bipartisan action to help the private sector and the economy grow -- such as measures to extend the payroll tax cut, pass the pending free trade agreements, and create an infrastructure bank to help put Americans back to work,” he writes.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Austan Goolsbee: 'Stiff Headwinds' Slow Job Creation

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Following a disappointing jobs report showing slowed growth on employment, President Obama's top economic advisor Austan Goolsbee said the administration is focusing on policies to improve conditions for the private sector to grow the economy.

"Our effort now as a government should be to get the private sector to help them stand up and lead the recovery," Goolsbee told Christiane Amanpour, anchor of ABC’s This Week, citing efforts on regulatory review, while maintaining policies such as reduced payroll taxes through the end of the year. "We've got to rely on policies that are trying to leverage the private sector and give incentives to private sector to be doing the growth."

The monthly jobs report released on Friday showed that just 54,000 new jobs were created in May, the slowest month of hiring since last fall when the recovery began gaining traction.

The disappointing report was worse than economist expected, as the unemployment rate increased to 9.1 percent.

Goolsbee cautioned against reading too much into the report, saying "stiff headwinds" from shocks such as the disaster in Japan and higher gas prices impacted the employment picture in May.

Goolsbee maintained that "the trend is really clear" on positive job growth in recent months, when the economy added one million jobs in the private sector.

"Don't make too much of any one month's job report because they are highly variable," said Goolsbee, who said that despite the monthly numbers being below expectations, the economy has improved dramatically from the picture two years ago. "After the last recession, in this comparable period, post-recession, we had lost 100,000 jobs. We've added more than two million jobs."

Goolsbee added that he believes there will be resolution on raising the debt ceiling in the coming month, which will also create greater certainty for the economy, saying that "the U.S. is a nation that pays its bills."

"I'm relatively optimistic because you've seen leaders on both sides of the aisle saying they don't want to push this all the way up until the edge of the Treasury's authority of what can be done," Goolsbee said. "This is not an alarm clock. It would be extremely dangerous to get right up to the edge."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Sen.-Elect Rand Paul: $50 Billion in Spending Cuts Not Good Enough

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Fifty billion dollars in spending cuts is not good enough, Senator-elect Rand Paul told ABC News Wednesday morning, responding to a New York Times report that Republicans are backing off their 2010 campaign pledge to reducing spending by $100 billion in the first year.

“The debt problem is enormous. You know we’re bringing in about $2 trillion and spending nearly $4 trillion, so $50 billion is not enough to scratch the surface,” the Kentucky Republican said. “We have to find much, much more. If you go back just to 2008 levels, that’s $100 billion, we have to at least do that.”

After speaking to his fellow incoming freshmen on Capitol Hill, Paul said he “found that there was some steadfastness there to push the leadership towards more” budget cuts.

Cutting the federal budget won’t be the only battle Congress will face in its new session -- deciding if they should raise the debt ceiling in order to avoid defaulting is also top on the list.

Rand Paul’s father -- and new roommate -- Rep. Ron Paul disagreed with the chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors, Austan Goolsbee, who said on This Week that “defaulting on our obligations” would be “catastrophic.”

“There’s always a default, he’s just talking about a different type of default. Every year we default because we just print the money and then we pay our bills with cheap money,” he said. “Not raising the debt limit is admitting that we are in default and cheating people all the time. So it is very, very important that we do this and this would stop and make us think.”

Rand Paul, who previously indicated he wouldn’t rule out a filibuster on any attempt to raise the debt ceiling, said he would support raising it -- as long as it is tied to a promise to balance the budget.

“If we raise the debt ceiling it has to be linked to something. I’m not talking about $50 billion in cuts, you have to link it to say...from here on out we’re going to balance the budget,” the senator-elect said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Goolsbee Warns Tea Party: Don't 'Play Chicken' With Debt Ceiling Vote

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama's top economic advisor, Austan Goolsbee, warned Sunday against "playing chicken" with raising the country's debt ceiling, saying it would cause "a worse financial economic crisis than anything we saw in 2008."

"This is not a game. The debt ceiling is not something to toy with," said Goolsbee, the chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, in an interview with ABC’s This Week.

"If we hit the debt ceiling, that's ... essentially defaulting on our obligations, which is totally unprecedented in American history," he said. "The impact on the economy would be catastrophic."

Congress raised the debt ceiling to $14.3 trillion last February, but the federal debt is now at $13.9 trillion, meaning the ceiling will need to be raised again this spring to avoid pushing the country into default.

Some conservatives in Congress, especially new Tea Party members, have said they will vote against raising the debt limit again, saying government should drastically cut spending instead. Incoming Republican House Speaker John Boehner has said he will work to convince new members to vote to raise the limit, saying it will be "the first really big adult moment" for the new Republican majority.

Goolsbee said Obama will propose "tough choices" on tackling the nation's spending and deficit problems in his soon-to-be released budget for the next fiscal year.

After more than two years of economic turmoil, 2010 ended with glimmers of positive news for the economy. Holiday sales were up 5.5 percent over 2009, beating expectations. Stocks were also headed in the right direction, with the Dow ending the year up 11 percent and the Nasdaq almost 17 percent. But the unemployment rate has remained stuck at 9.8 percent, only slightly better than it was at this time last year.

"Coming out of the worst financial crisis of our lifetimes, it's always a messy, bumpy road to get out of that," Goolsbee said. "You're starting to see encouraging signs, I'd say.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio