Following the "This Week" roundtable today, we asked our roundtable participants to expand on their discussion. Here are their views.
|Stephanie Cutter: How President Obama Wants to Grow the Economy|
We had a good discussion this morning about how to grow the economy. President Obama wants to build an economy that's meant to last, with a strong middle class and where hard work and responsibility are rewarded. Governor Romney has a different approach. He believes the answer is deregulating Wall Street, giving companies incentives to ship jobs overseas, repealing health reform, and giving a 25 percent tax cut to millionaires and billionaires. We tried it that way before, and that's what led to our economy crashing four years ago.
This week, President Obama will continue to push the Republican Congress to put politics aside and take action on a number of job proposals that have been sitting on their desks for nine months. These jobs proposals – from putting construction workers back to work rebuilding our roads, bridges and highways, to keeping teachers in the classroom and firefighters on the job, helping families refinance their mortgages to save an average of $3,000 per year and giving tax cuts to businesses that are adding jobs and increasing wages – could mean new jobs this year if the Republican Congress would stop sitting on their hands and rooting for failure just to win the next election. Indeed, based on estimates from independent economists, Congress left as many as one million jobs on the table by blocking most of the components of the President's American Jobs Act last fall.
This week the Senate will also vote on a critical bill that would strengthen families, grow our economy and ensure women get the equal pay for equal work they deserve. The Paycheck Fairness Act goes a step further than the Lilly Ledbetter equal pay law the President signed days after taking office by helping to stop gender-based pay discrimination before it starts. Pay equity is not just a women's issue – it's a family issue, and an unnecessary obstacle to our recovery as long as women keep making just 77 cents for every dollar a man earns. Senate Republicans say they'll stand in the way of this common-sense and overdue law, and we'll be watching to see if Mitt Romney finally takes leadership and stands up for women by standing up to the extreme voices in his party.
And, they can heckle all they want, but the Romney campaign can't erase Mitt Romney's Massachusetts record. After making promises to turn the Massachusetts economy around based on his private sector experience, Massachusetts sank to 47th out of 50 states in job creation, manufacturing left the state at twice the national rate, taxes and fees went up, debt went up, wages went down, and he left the state with a deficit. We'll continue to examine that record, and what it meant to Massachusetts middle class families.
Stephanie Cutter is the deputy campaign manager for the Obama campaign.
|Eric Fehrnstrom: New President Needed for an Economic Turnaround|
Of course, the big news last week was the May jobs report, showing devastatingly weak job growth and an uptick in the unemployment rate to 8.2%. But that was not the only bad news for those of us who urgently look forward to an improvement in the economy: GDP growth was revised down last week to an anemic 1.9 percent in the first quarter, far below what is needed for lasting job creation; new unemployment claims jumped unexpectedly; and consumer confidence suffered its biggest drop in months. President Obama's policies have simply failed to move this economy so that it's creating jobs fast enough for the 23 million Americans who are either out of work or underemployed.
Compare the Obama record to Mitt's Romney's record as governor – 4.7% unemployment, four years in a row of balanced budgets without raising taxes, and more jobs created on a net basis in tiny Massachusetts than Obama has created for the entire country. At the start of Governor Romney's term, Massachusetts was an economic basket case, ranking dead last among all the states and DC in job creation. By the time Governor Romney left four years later, Massachusetts had moved to the middle of the pack, ranking 30th in job creation, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That is called a turnaround, and it is what the country is desperately in need of from its next president.
Eric Fehrnstrom is a senior advisor to the Romney campaign.
|Paul Krugman: Questioning Mitt Romney's Economic Leadership|
Most of my part of the discussion focused on those bad jobs numbers, which I argued reflect essentially Republican policies – we have, in fact, seen plunging government spending, at a rate not seen since the demobilization that followed the Korean War. So I was curious to see how the GOP side of the panel would react.
And their answer was that Mitt Romney would, um, show leadership. Leadership in what? We never learned the answer.
I was also professionally tickled by the Romney camp comeback on poor job performance in Massachusetts. They could have argued, with justice, that state governors don't actually have much economic impact – but that would get in the way of the "leadership" thing. So the answer instead is to point to the fall in the Massachusetts unemployment rate.
The trouble is that anyone who follows these issues (and I do, a lot), knows that Massachusetts in the 1990s was a classic case of recovery through exit: the jobs never came back, but unemployment came down because the workers left. Somehow, this doesn't sound like a solution to our national jobs crisis.
Let me say that I came out not especially reassured about economic policy if Mr. Romney wins.
Paul Krugman is a Nobel Prize-winning economist, New York Times columnist and author of the new book "End This Depression Now!"
|Donna Brazile: Words of Advice for John Edwards|
As for John Edwards, he should seek redemption, not re-election. He should find some way to be of service without getting publicity for it – running a legal assistance program or a charity; teaching in a public school in a low-income community; becoming a social worker or a youth counselor. He shouldn't do interviews; he shouldn't give speeches; and he should never – ever – run for public office again. His model should be Chuck Colson, not Richard Nixon.
Edwards borrowed (without attribution) Jesse Jackson's famous line: "God isn't finished with me yet." He is more likely to hear God's voice in church or when he is walking alone or with his family than when he is performing in public.
And one other thing: I was never a huge fan or a personal friend of John Edwards. But I do think it is time to stop casting stones at him. He did some things that were very wrong. But so might many of us when faced with the temptations of celebrity. If he stays out of the spotlight, we should leave him and his family alone.
Donna Brazile is a Democratic strategist and ABC News contributor.