WASHINGTON (CNN) – President Obama's economic advisers on Sunday refused to endorse a House bill that would levy a 90 percent tax on bonuses paid out by companies that receive bailout money, with one administration official describing the plan as potentially "dangerous."
Fueled by anger over more than $165 million in bonuses paid out by insurance giant AIG, the House passed the punitive tax bill on Thursday in a 328 to 93 vote
Jared Bernstein, Vice President Joe Biden's top economic adviser, told ABC's "This Week" that the bill "may go too far in terms of some legal issues, constitutional validity, using the tax code to surgically punish a small group. That may be a dangerous way to go."
Bernstein noted that that private investors the government needs to carry out its toxic assets plan might be scared away by such a tax.
Christina Romer, who chairs the White House Council of Economic Advisers, told CNN's "State of the Union" that the president believes "it's completely appropriate to have different standards" for firms that have taken federal funds.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – President Obama’s lead economist predicted Sunday that the nation’s struggling, recessionary economy will be growing by the end of the year.
“I have every expectation, as do private forecasters, that we will bottom out this year,” Christina Romer, chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, said on CNN’s State of the Union. “And, [we’ll] actually be growing again by the end of the year.”
Romer’s comments came in a wide-ranging interview with Chief National Correspondent John King where she defended the new administration’s economic policies in the face of growing criticism by Republicans – particularly over how Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner handled payment of $165 million in bonuses to AIG employees and how Geithner has been slow to roll out the specifics of his plan to stabilize some of the nation’s largest banks.
“I think it is important to realize this is just one piece of what we're doing,” Romer said of the detailed Geithner bank rescue plan expected any day now. Romer pointed out that in the roughly nine weeks since Obama’s inauguration, the White House has rolled out a housing plan, a small-business plan, and a consumer and business lending initiative. “This is just one more of those pieces, and I don't think Wall Street is expecting the silver bullet . . . there’ll be more to come.”
WASHINGTON (CNN) - She is known for her cheery disposition and motherly demeanor, especially beside some of the dour faces that surround her, but Christina Romer, the president's chairwoman of the Council of Economic Advisors, is delivering the cold, hard facts on the nation's new jobless numbers. Making her way from camera to camera, Romer is the face of the administration's bad news.
"I think there's no way we could or should spin these. They are terrible. We know that we've lost now more than 650,000 jobs each of the last three months, and that's a tragedy for the American families that are losing those jobs and for the whole economy," Romer told CNN.
On Friday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released the February unemployment figures, which showed an increase from 7.6 to 8.1 percent - numbers Romer said were not surprising. "I think the important thing is they were much of what we expected. But they are still very bad," she said. "The unemployment rate clearly went up a little bit more than the market had been expecting. The job loss is just what we were expecting."