President Obama's former top economics advisor, Christina Romer, denounced the government's inaction on high unemployment in a speech at Vanderbilt University on Tuesday. Romer didn't specifically lay the blame at the feet of her former boss, President Obama, but it's hard not to read her remarks has having been directed at least partially at the White House:
"I frankly don't understand why policy makers aren't more worried about the suffering of real families," Romer said. "I think there are tools we have tools we have that we can use, and I think it's shameful that we're not using them."
Romer then went on to blast those who cite the deficit as a reason not to enact more stimulus:
"We need to realize that there is still a lot of devastation out there... And don't tell me you can't [take those actions] because of the deificit because I think there are fiscally responsible ways."
As with others critical of the government's response to our economic woes, Romer was light on specifics. If there are "fiscally responsible" ways to do more to reduce unemployment, few critics have detailed them. Romer's use of the word "shameful" to describe a policy that her own economics team and her former boss are partially responsible for was also startling.
One thing that's for certain is that the frustration with high unemployment and the country's massive debt and deficits aren't going to disappear. There are no easy answers to either problem. And they will likely be a major focus in next year's presidential election.