Obama's secret meeting with left-wing economic critics

The administration has repeatedly scoffed at the “professional left” for being critical of any sort of compromise with congressional Republicans but privately it's apparent that it is concerned with such attacks. In fact, on the very day that the President Barack Obama announced he had reached a deal to delay tax increases for all income brackets, Obama met privately with a number of liberal economists who were critical of his policies. Michael Hirsh at National Journal reports:

At a White House news conference on December 7 in which he announced a deal to extend the Bush tax cuts, Barack Obama chastised his liberal base for sticking unrealistically to their “purist” positions.

What the president didn’t say was that a few hours earlier he had met with and tried to assauge some his most vociferous liberal critics — economists Paul Krugman, Joseph Stiglitz, Jeffrey Sachs, Alan Blinder, and Robert Reich, the former Labor secretary.

In what two participants describe as a somewhat-argumentative one-hour discussion, Obama tried to convince the group that his compromise would deliver more bang for the buck to the economy and to people most in need of help than any other politically feasible option.

Alongside Obama were Austan Goolsbee, the chairman of his Council of Economic Advisors, and Jared Bernstein, Vice President Joe Biden’s chief economist. Bernstein is considered a left-of-center economist, as is Goolsbee to some extent.

The two participants, both of whom would recount the conversation only on condition of anonymity, said that the conversation came to no resolution.

“He didn’t really respond,'' said one of the participants. “He said it was hard to change the narrative after 30 years” of small-government rhetoric and policies dating back to Ronald Reagan. “He seemed to be looking for a way to reassure the base. Or maybe it was just to reassure himself.”

Another participant said the meeting was mostly good-natured and polite, but that the president complained about how hard it was to get anything through Congress.

Barack ObamaBeltway ConfidentialtaxesUS

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Superintendent Vincent Matthews said some students and families who want to return will not be able to do so at this time. “We truly wish we could reopen schools for everyone,” he said. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SFUSD sets April reopening date after reaching tentative agreement with teachers union

San Francisco Unified School District has set April 12 as its reopening… Continue reading

José Victor Luna and Maria Anabella Ochoa, who cite health reasons for continuing distance learning, say they have been enjoying walking in Golden Gate Park with their daughters Jazmin, a first grader, and Jessica, a third grader. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Some SFUSD families prefer distance learning

Health issues, classroom uncertainties among reasons for staying home

Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed legislation intended to help California schools reopen. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Newsom signs $6.6 billion school reopening legislative package

By Eli Walsh Bay City News Foundation Gov. Gavin Newsom and state… Continue reading

Recology executives have acknowledged overcharging city ratepayers. (Mira Laing/2017 Special to S.F. Examiner)
Recology to repay customers $95M in overcharged garbage fees, city attorney says

San Francisco’s waste management company, Recology, has agreed to repay its customers… Continue reading

Most Read