'This Week' Transcript: Austan Goolsbee

GOOLSBEE: Well, look, what we know is that we have moved a long way from when the economy is in a rescue mode, the private sector's in freefall, and the government is the only thing standing between us and falling into another Great Depression. We were losing 780,000 jobs a month when the president comes into office. Fast-forward to now: We've added 1 million jobs over the last six months.

If we face stiff headwinds, that are shocks like the -- like the Japanese earthquake, we have to deal with that, but I think the -- the trend is relatively clear.

AMANPOUR: But what do you say to the American people when so many economists were expecting something, according to a Bloomberg survey, of 165,000 to 170,000 to be created this month, to see the unemployment come down a little, which it didn't? What do you say to the American people about that? Where is the light, in other words?

GOOLSBEE: The first thing that I say is the same thing I said one month ago when it came in the opposite, 100,000 above expectations, and that is, let's not conclude too much of anything from one report. Let's look at what's happened over six months.

And what has happened over six months is we've added a million jobs in the private sector. The president has enacted -- we passed a tax policy in December, which has come into place this year and will continue over the course of this year, to put -- to give a payroll tax of $1,000 plus to 150 million workers and to give direct incentives for business to start investing. And they've accumulated money on their balance sheet.

Our -- our effort now as a government should be to get the private sector, to help them stand up and lead the recovery. It -- the government is not the central driver of recovery.

AMANPOUR: Right, but, again, it is slower than expected. So, economists are asking and people are asking, is this kind of a wake-up call, do you think, to sort of shift the political debate from what's been all about debt reduction and shift it back to job creation? I mean, is this an opportunity, for instance, to try to talk about creating jobs and adding maybe another stimulus? Let's say there was no politics involved, in a perfect environment. What would you do to get this off the slow burner?

GOOLSBEE: Well, I would say two or three thing. The first is, the president has never stopped talking about jobs. For him, the growth strategy is the number-one issue.

Now, we must live within our means. We have a moment that we can talk about long-run deficit reduction. And the vice president's leading an effort to do that, that the president has asked him to. But the president is getting up every day -- on Friday, he's going out to Ohio to talk about jobs in manufacturing, which manufacturing is having its best employment year in almost 15 years.

AMANPOUR: And yet that came down, as well, manufacturing jobs...

GOOLSBEE: Well, durable goods manufacturing was up.

AMANPOUR: But what specifically can you do to change this?

GOOLSBEE: OK. So the -- we have shifted in the economy from a rescue phase, which is government-directed, to a phase in which government policies have got -- we've got to rely on government policies that are trying to leverage the private sector and give incentives to the private sector to be doing the growth.

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