The easy catch in former Obama administration economic adviser Austan Goolsbee's Thursday interview on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," as reported by the Politico's Tim Mak, is that he believes that "if given a second chance he would not have backed the Cash for Clunkers program or the home buyer tax credit." Goolsbee's excuse for his changed position -- that the administration didn't think the recovery would take so long, when the administration's policies have primarily explain why the recovery has taken so long -- is characteristically lame.
Something else Goolsbee said is far more surprising -- so surprising that one wonders if famed supply-side economist Arthur Laffer somehow temporarily took over the former Obama adviser's mind and body. One also wonders why Mak saved what Goolsbee said for his report's final two paragraphs instead of headlining and leading with it.
Here they are:
Goolsbee also disagreed with Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who said Wednesday that “private-sector jobs have been doing just fine” and that the focus should be on saving public sector jobs.
“I guess I would disagree a little. I think at this moment, the government still has an important role to play, it’s to get the private sector going, and we can do that with tax cuts and incentives,” he said.
"Tax cuts and incentives"? Holy Reaganomics, Batman! The only wiggle room Goolsbee may have is that he doesn't mean "across the board" tax cuts. But given the administration's current dogged insistence on tax increases and silence on tax cuts, that's hardly relevant.
If only Goolsbee, Obama's economic team, and the President himself had channeled their inner Laffer during the administration's first few months, Investor's Business Daily would never have created the following grim graphic:
Of all the recoveries since World War II, only one has taken longer than three quarters to get back to where it was when the downturn began -- the not-quite-there after eight quarters recovery which we currently inhabit.
Goolsbee's time with Obama goes all the way back to his 2004 senatorial campaign, and he was Obama's senior economic adviser during the 2008 presidential campaign. Where was your inner Laffer when we needed it, Austan?
If this were a current or former Bush adviser openly disagreeing on a fundamental economic policy (e.g., David Stockman with Reagan in the early 1980s), I don't Tim Mak would have distracted readers with the Cash for Clunkers eye candy in hopes that readers wouldn't get to the really big item at the end.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.