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Christina Romer, one of President Obama's top economic advisers, gave a dispiriting speech on the economy Wednesday at the National Press Club. Romer is leaving the administration this month and in her farewell remarks she cast doubt about the likelihood of a robust economic recovery. The Washington Post's Dana Milbank attended the event:

She had no idea how bad the economic collapse would be. She still doesn't understand exactly why it was so bad. The response to the collapse was inadequate. And she doesn't have much of an idea about how to fix things.

What she did have was a binder full of scary descriptions and warnings, offered with a perma-smile and singsong delivery: "Terrible recession. . . . Incredibly searing. . . . Dramatically below trend. . . . Suffering terribly. . . . Risk of making high unemployment permanent. . . . Economic nightmare."

Romer's remarks provided fodder for the president's critics on the left and right:

  • The White House Followed the Wrong Track, writes conservative Ed Morrissey at Hot Air: "When Keynesianism has been tried, it has failed and instead ushered in stagnation and economic drift. When tax cuts and streamlining have been implemented, expansion and job growth followed. This administration somehow believed it could reinvent economics so that it performed just like it does in the laboratories of the Ivory Tower, where their top-down, command-economy projects always succeed."
  • The Obama Administration Is Stuck, writes the conservative Red State blog: "Philosophically they will neither cut taxes nor spending nor roll back business killing regulations. Politically they will not be able to convince the Democrat caucus in the House and Senate to fund a new round of stimulus spending. So as the world's largest economy circles the bowl enroute to subsidizing a green job somewhere, Obama's chief economic adviser shrugs her shoulders."
  • Not Funding a Bigger Stimulus Was the Big Mistake, writes liberal blogger David Dayen at Fire Dog Lake: "This has major implications for the future. By walking into a corner where only tax cuts offer a way out, it perpetuates a false narrative, that Keynesian measures failed and only conservative economic ideas can succeed. In the short run, voters will reward or punish the man in the White House based on their objective economic situation, but in the long run, that narrative will take hold, one of supply-side economics to the rescue. And it's deeply wrong."

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