Late Night DriftPosted: January 19, 2011
I’ll bet Dakinikat can’t wait to start plowing through the New York Times Magazine’s cover story this week: The White House Looks for Work: Inside Obama’s Struggle to Bring Down Unemployment, by Peter Baker.
Who knew Obama was involved in a struggle over jobs? As far as I can tell jobs are about the last thing on Obama’s mind. But what do I know? Apparently, there has been a life and death struggle going on within the President’s economic team over jobs.
Let me just buy them a clue: the answer isn’t cutting the deficit and wiping out the social safety net. Anyway, back to the Caucus blog’s preview of the upcoming NYT mag story and some of the “surprisingly newsy nuggets” we can look forward to reading on Sunday morning.
Mr. Baker writes that the president’s economic team “fractured repeatedly over philosophy (should jobs or deficits take priority?) and personality (who got to attend which meetings?), resulting in feuds that ultimately helped break it apart.”
The most sensible “tidbit” in the article comes from Christina Romer.
“In Washington, she said, ‘you’re not supposed to say the obvious thing, which is that in retrospect of course it should have been bigger. With unemployment at 10 percent, I don’t know how you could say you wouldn’t have done anything different. Of course you would have made it bigger.’”
— In the article, Ms. Romer said the Obama administration should have gone back to Congress for more stimulus money to bolster the economy when it was clear how bad things really were.
He writes: “‘In my mind,’ she said, ‘the problem was not in the original package; it was in not adjusting to changed circumstances.’ Once it was clear that the situation was deteriorating, she said, the White House should have gone back to Congress for more stimulus money. ‘That was where we could have been bolder,’ she said.”
Duh. For that kind of truth-telling, you get sent to
Siberia UC Berkeley.
There’s a supposedly funny story about Larry Summers that I don’t understand. Can someone explain it to me?
Mr. Baker offers this fun tidbit about Mr. Summers: “Tan from a holiday in Jamaica and trying to get his bearings again at Harvard, where he plans to teach a course on Obama’s economic policy and write a book, Summers sat at a corner table and ordered bisque and — from the lighter-fare menu — a steak ‘as rare as your chef will make it.’”
On second thought, maybe Dak should skip the NYT mag article. If these are the highlights, it sounds like a crashing bore. And I didn’t see anything about jobs in there either.