ROMER: We have had to provide so much support for the financial system -- it was the right thing to do for the American people, because we know that when credit stops, the economy stops. But we've provided extraordinary aid, and the -- and the idea that, as the financial system heals, they just go back to business as usual is -- is simply outrageous.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So what if they do? What is the president going to do?
ROMER: What we're going to do is redouble our efforts on financial regulatory reform, because that has in it sensible things like say on pay, so at least the shareholders are minding the store, sensible things like saying, for heaven's sakes, compensation should be focused on -- on long term, so that you don't have rewards for short-term risk-taking. And we just simply have to put in place rules of the road so that this system doesn't bring the economy to the edge of collapse like it did a year or so ago.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Dr. Romer, thanks very much.
ROMER: Great to be with you.
STEPHANOPOULOS: We're going to go straight to the roundtable. So as our panelists take their seats, a reminder that President Obama is not the first president to start his second year with tough times on the jobs front. Here's Sam Donaldson from 1982.
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DONALDSON: President Reagan, on his way out of the White House for a weekend at Camp David, voiced sympathy for the unemployed, but also continued determination not to deviate from his economic game plan.
REAGAN: I think it's tragic. It's been coming on for a long time. I'm hoping -- and that's why we have our program in place, and I think it's the only way to get us back to where we can provide the jobs for the people.
DONALDSON: When will it start picking up?
REAGAN: Well, I -- I think that all of us expect there's going to be a few months of low period (ph). We can't help that. But I think that, as we get down toward the spring and going into the summer, we're going to see the economy begin to come back.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: As Yogi Berra would say, it's deja vu all over again. Let's talk about it here on the roundtable. I am joined, as always, by George Will, Liz Cheney of keepamericasafe.com. You're the chair of that organization. Bob Reich of U Cal, Berkeley, and the American Prospect, Bloomberg's Al Hunt, and Judy Woodruff from the PBS NewsHour.
Welcome to all of you, and let's pick up just on this economic discussion, George. What must President Obama do now to actually match Reagan's fate? The economy didn't come back in his -- for the -- in time for the midterms, but it came roaring back by the end of his first term.
WILL: Well, do what Reagan did, which is deregulate the economy and cut taxes, but that's not on the agenda. I think a phrase we're going to hear more of is Japan's lost decade, because we may be in for something without precedent, which is a severe, rampant recession not followed by a rapid acceleration and a rapid bounce.
The economy has been growing for six months. We've had two stimulus packages, and now the House has passed $154 billion jobs program.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Endorsed by Dr. Romer pretty much there.