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Christina Romer, Former Top Economist: Administration 'Shamefully' Ignoring Unemployed

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ROMER
AP

On Tuesday, the Obama administration's former top economic advisor expressed her frustration with the government for not doing enough to help unemployed Americans.

“I frankly don’t understand why policy makers aren’t more worried about the suffering of real families,” Christina Romer, former chair of the Council of Economic Advisors said at a discussion at Vanderbilt University, according to Politico. "I think there are tools we have that we can use, and I think it’s shameful that we’re not using them."

Speaking at the university in Nashville on Tuesday, Romer called 8.9 percent unemployment "an absolute crisis," adding that there were fiscally responsible ways to help unemployed Americans, without adding to the deficit, Politico reported.

As she was leaving the Obama administration last September, Romer, now professor of economics at the University of California, Berkley, called for more government spending and fewer taxes. She also called on the government to invest in infrastructure and make new trade agreements.

Romer reportedly said the government could, for example, extend the payroll tax break to employers, while also passing a deficit reduction plan, Politico reported.

Last November, the house of representatives failed to pass an extension on unemployment insurance benefits for Americans who have been employed for six months or longer, dubbed "99ers" after the maximum 99 weeks of benefits available in some states. Politicians argued that the spending needed to be offset by savings.

According to Federal Reserve officials, the U.S. recovery is slowly picking up speed, as the Fed forges ahead with a $600 billion bond-buying program designed to boost the economy.

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