- Associated Press - Sunday, January 2, 2011

WASHINGTON (AP) —  The top White House economic adviser on Sunday warned against what he called “playing chicken” with the need to raise the nation’s debt ceiling.

Austan Goolsbee, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, said on ABC’s “This Week” that refusing to raise the debt ceiling would push the country into default — and a far greater economic crisis than Americans saw in 2008.

Last February, Congress raised the debt ceiling to $14.3 trillion. The debt is now at nearly $13.9 trillion and growing each day. A move to raise the ceiling again is expected this spring.

Mr. Goolsbee also said the administration wants to juice the economy and get it going faster amid signs of a continuing recovery in the new year.

Unemployment remains a sore spot at 9.8 percent. Mr. Goolsbee said previous forecasts for unemployment to average around 9 percent this year appear to be holding steady.

He said that initiatives under way, such as cutting payroll taxes and offering tax incentives to small businesses, now are coming into play to help.




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