As Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke says last week’s not-so-bad unemployment report - 163,000 new jobs were created in July - mask the real-life struggles of average Americans in an economic recovery still trying to get off the ground, former Office of Management and Budget Chief Peter Orszag on why we should stay positive
Watch Peter Orszag, Vice Chairman of Citigroup and director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), discuss his hopes for a bright economic future:
Orszag didn’t have an easy job in his last post as director of the OMB as he shaped the stimulus package after the 2008 Wall Street crash, helped formulate health care reform control measures and became the Obama administration’s leading deficit hawk.
“I think the single greatest challenge was that we are living, and we were living, in the aftermath of the financial crisis,” Orszag told genConnect. “You’ve got this urgent need to try to get unemployment down and.provide a little bit of a cushion. At the same time, you also have a very rapid increase in debt. So, the duality of, the unemployment rate is skyrocketing, but so are all the debt projections – that was the greatest challenge.”
Not helping things was the hyper-polarizatation in Washington and lack of a middle ground between Democrats and Republicans. “I saw it first-hand because I went from becoming head of the Congressional Budget Office,” where he dealt with both political parties, to then working in a Democratic administration under President Obama.
While Orszag predicts that it will “take a long time for the economy to recover,” he is hopeful.
“Hold on, it will get better,” Orszag advised. “Remember that there are lots of exciting sectors in parts of the economy where there is a lot of dynamism,” such as technology, energy and health care, he added. “Don’t give up, keep trying, get in there, get some experience, and let’s hope it pays off.”
genConnect is credentialed press at the 2012 Aspen Ideas Festival in Aspen, Colo., where we are interviewing the premier speakers and attendees at the conference. For more of our video interviews and articles from the Ideas Festival, click here.
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