“The panel does not include free-market voices who will contend the administration is spending too much or interfering too much in the economy, or that it is hurting job creation by increasing the burden of taxes and government debt,” said Josh Barro, a senior fellow on fiscal policy at the conservative-leaning Manhattan Institute. “I expect these economists will generally call for more Keynesian stimulus - more deficit spending and more aid to state governments.”
The continued joblessness has led congressional Democrats to begin drafting a so-called “jobs bill” that could include business tax credits for new employees, infrastructure spending and extended unemployment benefits.
But their last major effort at job creation has spurred much debate, with Mr. Obama’s credibility - and his pledge that the stimulus will create or save 3.5 million jobs by September 2010 - on the line.
Last month, the Government Accountability Office said the job creation numbers reported by contractors - about 640,000 so far - are sketchy. The Congressional Budget Office concurred on Monday, saying “it is impossible to determine how many of the reported jobs would have existed in the absence of the stimulus package.”
But the CBO said its own economic models show that the package may have helped sustain an additional 600,000 to 1.6 million workers than would have been the case without the spending. CBO also said gross domestic product, a measure of the size of the economy, may have been 1.2 percent and 3.2 percent larger thanks to the spending.
Mr. Obama has a mixed track record when it comes to soliciting balanced views at White House forums. On health care, he initially invited a broad cross-section but in recent months has focused more on Democrats. On immigration, his June summit was stacked mostly with lawmakers who support a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants, and he excluded one prominent critic, Rep. Steve King of Iowa, who is the top Republican on the immigration subcommittee in the House.