ABC’s Amanpour Chafes Over Focus on Debt, Pushes for ‘Another Stimulus’ Big Spending Bill

Looking at government as the best job creator, on Sunday’s This Week ABC’s Christiane Amanpour pushed her guests to agree the stagnant economy and growing unemployment argue for less concern about controlling federal spending and demonstrate the need for “another stimulus” big spending effort. Amanpour was undeterred by the failure of the ongoing “stimulus” spending pushed by President Obama.

“With the political wars over the debt, there is no chance for another stimulus,” reporter John Berman regretted in a set-up piece before Amanpour pleaded with Austan Goolsbee, Chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers:

Is this kind of a wake-up call, do you think, to shift the political debate from what's been all about debt reduction and shift it back to job creation? I mean, is this an opportunity, for instance, to try to talk about creating jobs, and adding, maybe, another stimulus?

During the panel segment, Amanpour repeated her solution: “Obviously the momentum has been with the debt reduction crowd, so to speak. Is that at the expense of real huge effort on job creation? In other words, what's more toxic, billions of dollars of stimulus, or these kind of unemployment numbers?”

Left-wing New York Times columnist Paul Krugman agreed: “We really need a new stimulus.”

Excerpts from the June 5 This Week, caught by the MRC’s Rich Noyes:

JOHN BERMAN: But now it [the economy] may have to mend on its own, because, practically speaking, there isn't much left the President can do. With the political wars over the debt, there is no chance for another stimulus, no more bank bailouts, there are no federal jobs to offer. And with interest rates at or near zero, the Fed can't do anything to lower them. The President might just have to watch and hope that the American road to recovery, is merely a bumpy road and not a road to nowhere.

....

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, TO AUSTAN GOOLSBEE: So economists are asking, and people are asking, is this kind of a wake-up call, do you think, to shift the political debate from what's been all about debt reduction and shift it back to job creation? I mean, is this an opportunity, for instance, to try to talk about creating jobs, and adding, maybe, another stimulus? Let's say there was no politics involved, in a perfect environment. What would you do to get this off the slow burner?

....

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, TO PANEL: Let me ask both of you [Chrystia Freeland and Paul Krugman], and let me ask you, Martin. Obviously the momentum has been with the debt reduction crowd, so to speak. Is that at the expense of real huge effort on job creation? In other words, what's more toxic, billions of dollars of stimulus, or these kind of unemployment numbers?

MARTIN REGALIA, CHIEF ECONOMIST, U.S. CHAMBER OF COMMERCE: Well, right now, we're looking at a situation where we have a lot of noise coming into the system, and that noise detracts the momentum. So we get an economy that doesn't grow very fast and doesn't create the number of jobs we need. So what you have to do is kind of strip away some of the distractions. The leading distraction right now is the debt ceiling. There ought to be a decision on the debt ceiling. We've had these debates before. They come up repeatedly. We ought to pass an extension to the debt ceiling. If it's done with spending cuts, that's great. That's even better. But the fact of the matter is, we have to get that done. Then we have to make some long-term headway on where we're going with our debt and our deficit. It's binding up the system. People are concerned about what's going to happen to the value of the dollar and what's going to happen to interest rates. And as long as that concern is out there, businesses aren't going to do what they do best, which is go out, compete, and create jobs and make everybody money.

PAUL KRUGMAN, NEW YORK TIMES: Can I just say, I agree we ought to pass the debt ceiling fast. But the rest, I just disagree. If you ask why are businesses not growing -- businesses aren't expanding because consumer demand isn't there. Consumer demand isn't there because of a combination of high consumer debt and low incomes. What we really need, in an ideal world -- Austan dodged that question -- but we really need a new stimulus, we need more moves from the Fed. We need to really boot this economy up, not just sort of say, well, 'We're getting our house in order,' and expect it to fix itself.

Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center