Last week, I met President Obama at the White House.
As I’ve already described, at first, I was starstruck. But, eventually, I recovered and starting taking notes.
Obama spent 15 minutes addressing about 20 reporters.
The message of his talk was that economic growth is his top priority, followed by addressing the deficit problem.
How do you create growth while also addressing the deficit?
One way is you don’t worry about the deficit for now. Obama said that dealing with the deficit will come second to creating growth in his priorities. So the deficit will presumably take a back seat to more stimulus spending, provided the White House can actually get any additional stimulus passed. (That’s Jim Roger’s prediction and actually, there was a sign of coming stimulus last week.)
Austin Goolsbee, President Obama’s top economist, also spoke to us, and he hammered the growth priority home:
The issue of the deficit is important — we have to live within our means — but the #1 issue is that we stay #1, the richest country around, and keep growing.
Unfortunately, I left without any specific ideas about how the White House plans to promote growth and keep the U.S. No 1.
What I did hear, from President Obama and other speakers, was the following:
- This is how we’re taking care of the average americans who were duped into buying mortgages they couldn’t afford (in part) by the banks we bailed out: Elizabeth Warren is working on a program that will demand that businesses write simple-to-read loans and other financial documents with “meaningful disclosure.” Timeline: unknown.
- This is how we’re keeping an eye on rising gas prices: We’re “decreasing dependence on gas,” said Obama.
- This is how we’re trying to balance the budget: Raising taxes will be the main way, as far as I could tell. Obama said, “Taxes are the lowest level they’ve been” in my lifetime.
- And this is how we’re stimulating growth: Encouraging people to create more (which isn’t really *stimulating* anything). Obama had a “Call to Arms” to inspire entrepreneurs, and he said that making “meaningful investments” in things like infrastructure, education, and clean energy is important. But of all the points, I was the least clear on how the administration plans to accomplish growth.
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