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Obama Economic Team Passes Out the Kool-Aid

Mary Bottari is director of the Real Economy Project with the Center for Media and Democracy.
"Much of the blame for the staggering electoral losses has to be laid at the feet of the President's economic team, who seems to think that 14 months of near double-digit unemployment is acceptable.

"Their primary misjudgment is they did not understand how serious the downturn would be," says economist Dean Baker, who sounded the warning about the accumulating housing bubble as early as 2002. "Summers, Geithner, Greenspan, Bernanke, none of these guys thought bubbles were a big deal. They expect the economy to bounce back on its own, and if it didn't, unemployment was not such a big deal either."

As a consequence, Team Obama's main chance to get the economy going again -- the stimulus/jobs package -- was not big enough. Christina Romer, former head of the Council of Economic Advisers, recommended over a trillion dollars in direct job-creation funding, but the final package contained about half of that.

"Summers managed to marginalize alternative views on nearly everything ... the size and composition of the stimulus, whether and how to discipline the banksters or do a housing refinance," says Joel Rogers, of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Center on Wisconsin Strategy (COWS), the national "high road" strategy center. "He very ably represented Wall Street and the rich against everyone else." But you can't exactly blame him for success in that. The President declares what economic discussion should be about, and who's in it..."

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