Edward Lazear, chairman of the President's Council of Economic Advisers, told reporters yesterday that economic growth continues to look good despite the housing and credit crunch.
Lazear credited consumer spending and international investment for the growth and warned against protectionist policies that could "derail" the economy. Carefully walking around the economic minefield, Lazear said he sees no signs of a recession and added that inflation appears to be in check as the president enters his last year in office. He also argued against new laws regulating the home loan business, saying that laws already on the books weren't adhered to by predatory lenders.
"It's not a question of having more laws. It's a question of people obeying the laws," said Lazear. Asked to judge the administration's economic record, he gave the president's team high marks for pulling the economy out of the 9/11 tailspin. He highlighted economic and production growth, the addition of 8 million new jobs, and low unemployment.
"The record looks good," he said. But he decried an inability to change the decades-long trend of wage inequality. He said that higher wages include a "premium associated with skill" and that the president would like to expand more educational opportunity to lower-income workers so that they can see better wage growth.