'This Week' Transcript: Goolsbee and Rauf

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AMANPOUR: What did the president mean when on Friday, he basically said, quote, "certainly there's going to be room for discussion," end quote, in extending those tax cuts for the wealthy if the Republicans and Democrats can first agree to extend them for the middle class? Has he opened an avenue of negotiation on those tax cuts for the wealthy?

GOOLSBEE: No, I do not think so. The president has been all along, through the campaign, through the administration, quite clear on what I believe the economics is also quite clear, that borrowing $700 billion to extend tax cuts that average more than $100,000 a year to millionaires and even billionaires is the least effective bang for the buck we have. He said we will be open for discussion, it was literally in a sentence where he said we should all be able to agree that what would give some certainty to the economy now would be extending the middle class tax cuts permanently. Let's talk about those other things after we do that.

AMANPOUR: Everything is about unemployment as it affects the people all over this country. So where do you think unemployment will be in the short term? I mean, is it going to come down to below 7 percent, when President Obama was elected?

GOOLSBEE: The CEA and Treasury and OMB issue an official unemployment forecast. So I'm not going to deviate from our official forecast...

AMANPOUR: (inaudible) is it going to stay high?

GOOLSBEE: It's going to stay high. This recession is the deepest in our lifetimes, the deepest since 1929. If you take the people thrown out of work in the 1982 recession, the 1991 recession, the 2001 recession, not only is this bigger, this is bigger than all of those combined. So more than 8 million people lost their jobs. It's going to take a significant push on our part and time before that comes down. I don't anticipate it coming down rapidly.

AMANPOUR: So this week, though, the president did announce some $200 billion in tax breaks, also the $50 billion in stimulus for infrastructure building. How many jobs, do you think, that that's going to create?

GOOLSBEE: Well, obviously depends on how you do it, but it could have a significant impact on trying to get investment in factories, in -- by small businesses, in buying equipment, research and development, job creation in this country. That's the key.

AMANPOUR: Do you have sort of a target number?

GOOLSBEE: I definitely do not want to speculate on that, but I will say, the point that we must have, the point of those policies, they aren't spending. They're the government giving tax cuts to businesses to invest in this country. That's what they are. And we cannot have a sustained recovery without the private sector standing up, so the president knows that and has said it many times.

AMANPOUR: And just briefly as we close, a new report is basically saying that the number of American people living in poverty is about to rise from something like 13.2 percent to 15 percent, back to the 1960 levels, which led to the national war on poverty.

What can you do in this climate to affect that?

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