Jan. 2, 2011— -- CHAIRMAN OF THE WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL OF ECONOMIC ADVISERS AUSTAN GOOLSBEE JOINED ABC NEWS' SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT AND SUBSTITUTE "THIS WEEK" HOST JAKE TAPPER FOR AN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW ON JOB GROWTH AND THE CURRENT STATE OF THE ECONOMY. THE PROGRAM FEATURED OTHER EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEWS WITH ACTOR AND ACTIVIST GEORGE CLOONEY, AS WELL AS JOHN PENDERGAST OF THE ENOUGH PROJECT. ABC NEWS' POLITICAL DIRECTOR AMY WALTER AND GEORGE WILL, DEMOCRATIC POLITICAL STRATEGIST DONNA BRAZILE, AND MAJOR GARRETT OF THE NATIONAL JOURNAL JOINED MR. TAPPER FOR THE ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION.
ON THE CURRENT STATE OF THE ECONOMY, WHITE HOUSE ADVISER AUSTAN GOOLSBEE SAID: "You're starting to see encouraging sign, I'd say. And so, you know, we've just got to juice this, and pump it up, and get it going faster, but that's clearly the direction that we're headed."
WHEN ASKED HOW TO GIVE THE ECONOMY A PUSH IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION, GOOLSBEE SAID: "I think the focus has got to be on investment, on exports, and on innovation. And that's...rather than on excessive consumption and housing investment, as it was in the last boom. And I think the president's firmly in that...planted in that camp, and we're going to grow our way out of this."
ON WHAT THE IMMEDIATE ECONOMIC EFFECT WOULD BE IF CONGRESS DOES NOT RAISE THE DEBT CEILING, GOOLSBEE SAID: "This is not…this is not a game. You know, the debt ceiling is not…is not something to toy with. That's the…the…if we hit the debt ceiling, that's the…essentially defaulting on our obligations, which is totally unprecedented in American history. The impact on the economy would be catastrophic. I mean, that would be a worse financial economic crisis than anything we saw in 2008.
"As I say, that's not a game. I don't see why anybody's talking about playing chicken with the...with the debt ceiling.
"If...if we get to the point where you've damaged the full faith and credit of the United States, that would...that would be the first default in history caused purely by insanity."
ON WHY AMERICA HAS UNPRECEDENTED AMOUNTS OF DEBT, GOOLSBEE SAID: "The reason the deficit is big this year is because we're coming out of the worst recession since 1929. That's the reason. The longer-run fiscal challenge facing the country is important."