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Stimulus, Part Two?
Two women pray during an unemployed support group meeting in Beverly, Mass. The group is one of several church-related unemployment support groups that have formed around the country. (AP)

Two women pray during an unemployed support group meeting in Beverly, Mass., in June. (AP)

Americans are optimistic people. We wanted to see “green shoots” of recovery in the economy. We really did. Still do.

There’s a welcome decline reported today in the number of newly laid-off workers filing initial claims for jobless benefits. But the overall trend in unemployment? Painfully up, despite the huge stimulus bill passed in February.

The talk in Washington and beyond is that the economy may need another huge round of fiscal stimulus. More billions. Republicans say that’s crazy. The White House is non-committal. Congressional Democrats are holding their fire. But the heat is on.

This hour, On Point: Top Obama economic adviser Christina Romer, and the debate over Stimulus II.

You can join the conversation. Tell us what you think — here on this page, on Twitter, and on Facebook.

Guests:

Gerald Seib, executive Washington editor of The Wall Street Journal, where he writes the Capital Journal column. He’s co-author with John Harwood of “Pennsylvania Avenue: Profiles in Backroom Power.”

Christina Romer, chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers.

William Gale, director of the Economic Studies Program at the Brookings Institution and co-author, with Alan Auerbach, of the Brookings publication “An Update on the Economic and Fiscal Crises: 2009 and Beyond.”

Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research and author of “Plunder and Blunder: The Rise and Fall of the Bubble Economy.”

We have the full transcript of Christina Romer’s interview up online. Her take on whether the White House should immediately push another stimulus package?  Here she is:

Where we’re coming down is we currently have $787 billion of stimulus that’s been passed. We’re certainly focusing on spending that money as quickly and as efficiently and as transparently as we can. We think that’s absolutely the right strategy. That’s certainly going to be the money that can get out the door the quickest and we are already doing that, so I think it makes sense to concentrate on that… (Read the rest.)

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