On Friday's "Morning Meeting", Christina Romer, chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, dodged several questions on whether the White House supported a windfall profits tax.
After briefly discussing Friday's unemployment numbers, host Dylan Ratigan asked Romer some tough questions about how bailed-out banks are profiting while cutting back on lending to small businesses. "Everyone understands there is state support for these institutions and as a result of that state support, these institutions are immensely profitable while the balance of America suffers," he said. "Is there a conversation about a windfall profits tax in Washington D.C.?"
Romer evaded the question, responding with platitudes about getting "Main Street going again," and shifted the subject to yesterday's jobs summit led by Obama. Ratigan cut her off and repeated his query. He also pointed out a recent Wall Street Journal column, in which Simon Nixon wrote: "This year's bank profits are windfalls in the purest sense. They aren't due rewards for exceptional skill but gifts from taxpayers."
Ratigan asked, "In other words, if we're providing subsidies to banks to recapitalize them to lend and the banks are taking that and paying themselves and that's windfall support, is there not a conversation about a windfall profits tax in DC?"
Romer replied by continuing to emphasize the president's support for lending to small businesses again.
Finally, after Ratigan pressed her for a third time, Romer acknowledged the issue but declined to provide the White House's position. "You surely know that there are members of Congress that are talking about that and we'll see how that discussion goes," she said. "And I'm certainly not going to get ahead of any kind of a policy discussion."