Today marks the last day Austan Goolsbee will serve as the chairman of President Barack Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, but, fortunately for Goolsbee, he saw in today’s jobs report some “encouraging news.”
“You do not want to take too much out of any one month’s report, but there was at least encouraging news,” Goolsbee said on Bloomberg Television. “This report came in well above expected. I believe that puts us at around 2.4 million jobs created over the last 17 months.”
Goolsbee acknowledged the ugliness of the overall economic picture, but also dismissed ongoing worries about a credit downgrade.
“People putting too much on rating agencies is probably a big mistake,” he said. “I do not need to remind folks about the financial crisis, and the role of the rating agencies for people to recognize what one rating agency says about one country is a lot less important than the overall market.”
With equivalent nonchalance, he dismissed fears of a double-dip recession.
“As I say, it is not a surprise that for the first six months of the year we took heavy blows,” he reiterated. “We did not need statistics to tell us that. People knew that. Even people with jobs have been struggling to get by. If we are growing, adding 2.4 million jobs over 17 months, those are not the things a double-dip recession looks like.”
The economist famous for his misleading whiteboard lessons predictably also blamed Congress — but not the White House — for the drawn-out debt ceiling debate and for “exacerbating” economic problems.
Who does Goolsbee think he’s fooling? As Ed explained earlier this morning, today’s report was encouraging only insofar as it was not discouraging. It was, at best, a sideways step. And to suggest the president bears no responsibility for the present economic situation when spending has skyrocketed at an unprecedented pace under his administration — and when the best the president can do to address the unemployment situation is to take another taxpayer-funded bus tour to “listen” to the needs of job creators and job seekers (i.e. when the president can’t seem to come up with a concrete plan for anything except his campaign!) — is itself irresponsible.
Goolsbee is about as out of touch as Jay Carney, who chalks talk of Tea Party “terrorists” up to “emotion” and “passion,” and David Plouffe, who said “the average American does not view the economy through the prism of GDP or unemployment rates or even monthly jobs numbers.” But at least one thing can be said for Goolsbee that can’t be said for the other two: Come Monday, he will no longer be in D.C. Sorry Chicago.