Goolsbee: Unemployment 'Going to Stay High'

White House adviser says long road to less joblessness.

ByABC News
September 12, 2010, 10:26 AM

Sept. 12, 2010— -- Unemployment in the United States is "going to stay high" Austan Goolsbee, Obama's chief economic adviser, told Christiane Amanpour this morning on "This Week."

"This recession is the deepest in our lifetimes, the deepest since 1929," said Goolsbee, who was just appointed chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers.

"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," he said. "I don't anticipate it coming down right away."

President Barack Obama spent last week rolling out new plans to help America's struggling economy -- $50 billion in infrastructure spending and about $200 billion in tax cuts for companies' investments in research and development. But just how many jobs will these pricey proposals create?

Amanpour asked Goolsbee the tough question of what effect it would have on unemployment, which currently stands at 9.6 percent.

"It obviously depends on how you do it," he said. "It could have a significant impact on trying to get investment in factories ... by small businesses in buying equipment, research and development and job creation in this country."

"Do you have sort of a target number?" Amanpour asked.

"I do not want to speculate on that," Goolsbee said. "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."

If Republicans were willing to accept an extension of the Bush-era tax cuts for just the middle class, Goolsbee said "he would be happy," but he has his doubts.

"In the past we have seen some of these circumstances in which what appears to be the offer of doing the sensible thing -- in the light of day, there is a little bit of a feeling, 'Well, if the president's for it, I'm against it,' then it falls apart."