by: Ari Berman, The Nation | News Analysis
President Barack Obama speaks with Alan Krueger, a former Treasury Department official and Princeton economist, beside him in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington, Aug. 29, 2011. (Photo: Doug Mills / The New York Times)
The Obama administration’s selection of Alan Krueger to lead the Council of Economic Advisers was greeted with applause from progressive economists, including Paul Krugman and Jared Bernstein. “Alan is a fine choice as chief economic adviser,” wrote Krugman, who has often clashed with the administration over economic policy. “It’s an inspired choice,” added Bernstein.
Krueger served as an adviser in the Treasury Department from 2009–10, where he designed the successful cash-for-clunkers program, and, as a Princeton University professor, is regarded as one of the country’s top labor economists. His nomination comes at a time when the Obama administration is belatedly realizing it needs to do much more to try to boost the lagging economy. The Wall Street Journal reports that, if confirmed, Krueger “is likely to provide a voice inside the administration for more-aggressive government action to bring down unemployment and, particularly, to address long-term joblessness.”
Next week Obama will lay out his ideas to create jobs, which will likely include the extension of the payroll tax cut and unemployment benefits, a tax cut for companies that hire new workers, an infrastructure bank to spur new construction jobs and job training for the long-term unemployed, reports Bloomberg News and the Washington Post. Whether these steps are enough to jumpstart an economic recovery, and whether anything the administration proposes can make it through Congress, remains to be seen.
It’s now clear that the administration’s obsession with cutting the deficit did nothing to boost the economy or help the president politically. The economy recovery has ground to a halt and Obama’s approval ratings are at an all-time low. “The White House strategy failed, and it failed pretty spectacularly,” writes Mike Tomasky in the Daily Beast.
Thanks to the Congressional “super-committee,” Washington
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