Transcript: 'This Week' Economic Debate

ABC'S "THIS WEEK WITH GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS"

MARCH 8, 2009

SPEAKERS: GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, HOST

SEN. CLAIRE MCCASKILL, D-MO.

SEN. EVAN BAYH, D-IND.

SEN. RICHARD C. SHELBY, R-ALA.

THOMAS DONOHUE, PRESIDENT, U.S. CHAMBER OF COMMERCE [*] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEPHANOPOULOS (voice-over): Good morning, and welcome to "This Week."

(UNKNOWN): I don't know how I'm going to pay my mortgage.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Economic shock.

HALL: We've never had four straight months of job loss in excess of 600,000.

(UNKNOWN): We don't have any feeling whether there's one more shoe to fall or whether Imelda Marcos' closet is about to come down on us.

STEPHANOPOULOS: With no bottom in sight, President Obama tries to spark confidence.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Throughout our history, we have met every great challenge with bold action.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But is Washington meeting the economic challenge or making it worse?

(UNKNOWN): We have to show that the government can discipline itself.

STEPHANOPOULOS: What will it take to stop this spiral? Questions this morning for Democratic Senators Evan Bayh and Claire McCaskill, Republican Richard Shelby, and the CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Tom Donohue, our "This Week" debate.

Then...

RUSH LIMBAUGH, TALK SHOW HOST: Why doesn't President Obama come on my show?

STEPHANOPOULOS: ... Rush and the White House square off. That and the rest of the week's politics on our roundtable with George Will, Cokie Roberts, David Brooks, and E.J. Dionne.

And, as always, the Sunday funnies.

JAY LENO, TALK SHOW HOST: We gave them $165 billion, now we're giving them $30 billion. You know what AIG stands for? "And it's gone"!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: From the heart of the nation's capital, "This Week" with ABC News chief Washington correspondent George Stephanopoulos, live from the Newseum on Pennsylvania Avenue.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Hello again. In this morning's New York Times, President Obama promises to put all the pillars in place for economic recovery this year, but his pledge follows a week in which nearly all signs pointed toward a recession that could last far longer. It's an economic emergency.

How to address it is our topic this morning with four key players here in Washington: Republican Senator Richard Shelby; Tom Donohue, CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce; and Democratic Senators Evan Bayh and Claire McCaskill.

And let me begin with another headline. This is the Washington Post. I don't know if you guys saw it yesterday. And the headline pretty much gets to the heart of the problem here, "Job Losses Could Drown Stimulus."

Senator McCaskill, are we at the point where we can say now that we're going to actually have to do more, that it's time for a second stimulus package?

MCCASKILL: Oh, I think it's too early for that. What you're seeing is jobs -- job loss is always a lagging indicator. It's not a leading indicator in a recession. And we've said all along in the stimulus, besides the tax cuts, which people forget to mention, a huge chunk of tax cuts, money going right back into the pockets of the American people, we're trying to keep job losses from being as great.

Even when we were debating the stimulus, we kept saying over and over again there was going to continue to be significant job loss. It's a matter of whether or not we can keep from that job loss being as severe as it could be had we not done the stimulus.

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