CHARLOTTE — For the past several days, the central question dominating the presidential campaign has been “are you better off than you were four years ago?” According to two men with close ties to the Obama administration, the answer is a resounding “yes.”
White House Communications Director Dan Pfieffer and former chairman of the White House’s Counicl of Economic Advisors Austan Goolsbee offered a strong defense of the Obama administration’s economic policies during a Politico panel this afternoon.
Although Goolsbee acknowledged the seriousness of the country’s economic problems, he also stressed that things would be “a hell of a lot worse” without the 2009 stimulus bill that President Obama championed. He also noted that, although things seem bad in the United States, they are almost universally worse in the rest of the world — after all, if not for the 2008 financial crisis, the current situation in Europe would be considered the worst economic crisis of our lifetimes.
“Most any country in the world would rather have our problems,” Goolsbee said. He went on to explain that, despite the serious questions about America’s economic future, “the medium term prospects” of the economy are “the best in the world.”
Pfieffer stressed that, although the metrics are not always pretty, “We’re moving in the right direction,” and “we’re creating jobs.”
He also directly addressed the concerns that the release of new monthly jobs figures on Friday could be politically lethal for the president. According to Pfieffer, unemployment is only one part of a broader picture considered by voters. “People will look at the array of things happening,” he argued.
Video of the entire panel — which also included Delaware Governor Jack Markell, North Carolina Rep. Brad Miller, and former New York Rep. Susan Molinari — can be seen here.