Obama Economic Adviser Austan Goolsbee and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi appeared on Face The Nation. Read the complete transcript (11-23-08).
SCHIEFFER: Yes, well, let’s talk a little bit about this program that he outlined yesterday. He’s talking about tax cuts, building roads and bridges.
Some people are saying it may have to be something in the neighborhood -- I think Senator Schumer, this morning, said it may be in the neighborhood of five, six, seven hundred billion dollars.
Is that the sort of thing; is that the scope we’re talking, here?
GOOLSBEE: Look, the problem is very, very serious. This is as big of an economic crisis as we’ve faced in 75 years. And we’ve got to do something that’s up to the task of confronting that.
I don’t know what the exact number is, but it’s going to be a big number. It has to be. The point is to, kind of, get people back on track and startle the thing into submission.
I mean, we’ve got well over a million people who already who lost their jobs. Most of the private-sector forecasts say we could lose a million more, plus. The unemployment rate could reach levels we haven’t seen in decades.
And so the thing is, we’ve had a period, under this administration, where they resisted the idea of economic recovery. The approach has been, let’s, sort of, look the other way and things will get better.
We’ve tried not having a stimulus. We’ve tried not having a housing plan. We’ve tried not giving tax cuts to ordinary Americans. And it hasn’t worked. I mean, look out the window. That’s where it is. And so that’s -- kind of, that era of dithering is going to end. Starting January 20, Obama’s coming in. We’re out with the dithering. We’re in with a bang. That’s what it’s got to be.
SCHIEFFER: But you’re talking about something in this neighborhood, in this ballpark, though?
GOOLSBEE: It -- it has to be big. In the campaign, he was looking at stimulus that was in the $175 billion range, and the economy has gotten substantially worse since then.
So, I mean, as I say, it’s going to be a number big enough that, when they spell it out, it looks like, ooh -- you know, with that many zeros on it.
SCHIEFFER: This really sounds like a major thing. When can you get these people back to work?
Because, generally, when you talk about these public works programs like this -- and certainly, the nation’s infrastructure needs some serious repair and some serious rebuilding. But how long is it before the jobs start?
GOOLSBEE: Well, the goal -- the task that the president-elect has given to his economic team to come up with this package is to come up with things that will be immediately applicable.
So, as you say, infrastructure -- roads, bridges and investing in the country is important, but that the goal of this is an economic recovery package that will be taking place in the first two years.
GOOLSBEE: So there are a lot of infrastructure maintenance, rebuilding schools, things, places we can invest in health care, in broadband, in smart energy as well as the tax cuts, that the goal is to get things moving within that two-year period. That’s exactly the goal of the economic recovery.
SCHIEFFER: And what about tax cuts here? You’re going to have some immediate tax cuts for the middle- and lower-income people.
GOOLSBEE: Absolutely. Look, this economic recovery package that he’s describing is every bit in keeping with exactly the philosophy he outlined throughout the campaign for pretty much two years. And that is, we’ve got to make investments in the future of this country and we’ve got to provide relief to ordinary Americans, to 95 percent of workers. And that will be in effect.