'This Week' Transcript: Odierno and Chiarelli

HARRIS: Well, the Treasury secretary was put in the same position as a newspaper reporter everywhere when we have to protest, hey, I don't write the headline. He definitely did not write the headline. The people in the Treasury actually saw that as almost -- almost a malicious move. They say it as a sarcastic or even taunting headline.

The substance of his op-ed in the New York Times was nuanced, saying, look, a lot of people are hurting, but the economy is getting better. And they were very purposeful in wanting to do that. The administration does feel that there is an important psychic element to recovery. They recognize that people do not have confidence. They recognize that many in the business sector believe that Obama is hostile to them, and they are tying to change that perception.

PACKER: Seems like there is a widespread view that we're just entering a period in which growth is very slow and unemployment is very high. And there is not a lot that the private sector is going to be able to do about it, so the real question is, public policy. And there's a big debate in Congress and I think in this upcoming election as to the role of government.

Right now, it seems like a lot of Democrats have joined Republicans in saying, we've done what we can with government spending, and yet there are millions of unemployed people.

(CROSSTALK)

GERSON: Democrats are pretty much at an ideological dead end. The reality is that this week, when Biden addressed these issues, he said the stimulus should have been larger. Pelosi is calling back the Congress to spend more money on public employees. The answer, they have really -- the Democrats in America have one answer, which is more spending, but that's precisely what independents are so concerned about in this upcoming election. Deficits, debt and spending.

So their economic answer is very much at odds with their political, you know, future here.

TETT: But the problem in a way is that, you know, in a sense also the social contract in America, the American dream is starting to fragment. Because for years, America's prided itself on having an unemployment rate that was a lot lower than Europe's, but it didn't have a social safety net like Europe. Now in a sense it doesn't have a social safety net, and yet shockingly, the unemployment rate is approaching European levels, in some cases actually exceeding it, and that's a real challenge not just in an economic sense, but in a political sense too, about what is the American dream?

AMANPOUR: And what about ingenuity in an economy? In other words, coming up with new ways to sort of spur the economy. Obviously, America and we've all been reading about how it has been losing its competitive edge in manufacturing. What is -- where are the new ideas in generating a new kind of economy that will generate jobs?

PACKER: Well, the stimulus bill was supposed to fund a million new projects in terms of new energy, transportation, et cetera. Maybe we're not seeing the results right now. Maybe we have all become so used to instant analysis and instant results that we are just disappointed prematurely, and we'll see that in a few years, that spending is going to be having an effect in a lot of different parts of the country. But right now, there's just a sense of stagnation, which is truly lethal to the party in power.

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