Here's The White House's Official Line On The Economy...

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Photo: An Honorable German via Flikr

Last week, the President and his senior team briefed reporters on the White House’s view of the economy.The White House’s No. 1 priority, everyone said, is “growth.”

The WH’s No. 2 priority, everyone said, is addressing the deficit.

So how do you do both of those at once?

If you’re the White House, you focus on growth now and worry about the deficit later.

The deficit is important, said economics advisor Austan Goolsbee, but growth comes first.

'We have to live within our means... but the number one issue is that we stay number one, the richest country around, and keep growing.'

The key to growth is encouraging entrepreneurs and startups

The administration believes that 'doubling the number of home-grown entrepreneurs would add 1% in GDP.'

The White House administration says it's stimulating growth by encouraging entrepreneurs in these ways:

  • Promoting 'market conditions that support start-ups'
  • The president proposes to fully exempt capital gains on qualifying small business stock, thus reducing the effective tax rate on these capital gains to zero
  • Getting feedback from entrepreneurs about their top concerns by hosting discussions with founders. The feedback from one discussion resulted in the administration learning that entrepreneurs' concern No. 1 is high-skilled immigration.

But we can't cut TOO much from the budget

Government spending on important 'building blocks' like education is critical to economic growth, said Gene Sperling, the chief advisor to Secretary Treasury Tim Geithner.

That's where the debt ceiling comes in -- It needs to be raised before the deadline

One implication of all this: We need to raise taxes

No one at the White House briefing came out and said, we're going to raise taxes. But Obama observed that 'taxes are the lowest level they've been in my lifetime.'

And Gene Sperling, Tim Geithner's senior advisor, implied that tax hikes are coming.

Austan Goolsbee, the President's top economist, says, 'The drags in the first half of the year are temporary. There won't be a sustained slowdown.'

Goolsbee says, we had '3 excellent jobs reports in a row.'

And then one disastrous jobs number. But they're not panicking.

So that's the White House's official line on the economy. Now check out the tour of the executive offices they gave us last week...

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