Obama Administration Can't Decide Whether The Recession Is Over, But It Wants Banks To Lever Up

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Politico recognises inconsistency emanating out of the Obama administration based on comments from today’s Sunday morning yak-fests.

Two of President Obama’s top economic advisers disagreed Sunday about whether the recession had ended.

Lawrence Summers, director of the National Economic Council, flatly said that it had.

“Today, everybody agrees that the recession is over, and the question is what the pace of the expansion is going to be,” Summers said on ABC’s “This Week.”

But Christina Romer, who heads the White House Council of Economic Advisers, offered a more cautious view on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

What’s going on here?

Basically, the administration would love to take credit for a recovery, while also acknowledging the continued pain in the economy and allowing itself the ability to fire off a second stimulus if need be.

It’s a tigh trope to walk, though it’s probably one they’ll be trying to walk until the 2010 elections (though from then out, they want to be fully into taking-credit mode. If they’re still talking about a recession in 2011, Obama may be a one-termer.

The other message today was that Obama wants banks to lever up — er, lend more — again.

The White House will have the nation’s bankers as its guest on Monday

CBS News: When I asked top White House economic advisor Larry Summers if the President needs to encourage banks to do more lending, he told me that bankers “need to recognise that they’ve got obligations to the country after all that’s been done for them, and there is a lot more they can do.”

Tomorrow, the President will meet with heads of the country’s biggest banks and Summers told me the White House has a blunt message: “President Obama is going to be talking with them about what they can do to support enhanced lending to customers across the country.

“We were there for them. And the banks need to do everything they can to be sure they’re there for customers across this country.”

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