Robert Pollin is Professor of Economics at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, and is a founding co-director of the Political Economy Research Institute (PERI). His research centers on macroeconomics, conditions for low-wage workers in the U.S. and globally, the analysis of financial markets, and the economics of building a clean-energy economy in the U.S. His books include A Measure of Fairness: The Economics of Living Wages and Minimum Wages in the US and Contours of Descent: US Economic Fractures and the Landscape of Global Austerity.
In February 2010 Pollin talked with Paul Jay of The Real News Network and during the interview outlined a careful combination of job-generating public investments, incentives to mobilize private investment, and policies that protect economically vulnerable populations that can create the economic, regulatory and policy environment that Obama could have already been using to create 18 million jobs and lower the unemployment rate to only 4 percent by 2012 – a proposal that has never been given any serious consideration by the Obama administration, policy makers or mainstream media.
Instead the Obama administration chose to continue listening to people like Ben Bernanke whom Obama had re-nominated as Federal Reserve Chairman in August 2009, and who, as the top bank regulator in the country, had played a central role in the creation of the ongoing economic crisis we are experiencing.
In another interview published today, Pollin again talks with Paul Jay discussing Obama’s speech the other day in which he made clear that he is more or less taking on the argument that the big problem is the debt and that austerity for the masses is his plan for reducing it, pointing out that Obama is accepting the notion of the debt being a bigger problem than a recession, that Obama’s premise is “wrong to begin with”, and that: