Published October 30, 2011
WASHINGTON – President Obama's top political adviser said Sunday that "no panacea" will fix the economy, and that's why the president is using a series of executive orders to get past a Congress focused on "obstruction and delay."
David Axelrod said Obama's strategy has been to do whatever he can to help the middle class whereas Republicans are "willing to tear down the economy in order to tear down the president."
In the past week, the president has announced administration actions aimed at helping homeowners refinance underwater mortgages, lowering student loan payments, training veterans for the health care industry and creating new tools for small businesses
Axelrod said those who complain that the orders are minor and won't help in any significant way don't recognize that every little bit helps in the face of persistent obstacles to recovery.
"Let me just say, there's no panacea. But if you're one of the millions of homeowners who can't refinance their homes because their home values have dropped, even though they've made their payments every month, it's not a small thing. It is a big thing," Axelrod said.
"It is easy to sit in Washington and make those judgments, but if you're out there in this economy these things do make a difference," he added.
Obama has pitched a $447 billion jobs plan that would be paid for with an added tax on people who make at least $1 million a year. The Senate blocked the bill and now it's being offered in pieces. Already, however, items that require additional taxes have been shot down.
Axelrod said the problems facing the U.S. economy are "years in the making" and require everyone's cooperation.
"They are deep, they are complicated and they're going to require sustained perseverance and lots of ideas. There's no silver bullet for them, so you have to keep chipping away at this problem and that is what he's doing," he said.
Axelrod, who appeared on CNN's Sunday morning show, also argued that the Obama administration has been the most transparent ever, particularly in terms of disclosing big-money "bundlers" who gather up large sums to donate to the president's reelection campaign.
"This administration has been more scrupulous and more transparent than any administration in history," he said. "We are raising money because we have to. There are people who are promising to spend, you know, hundreds of millions of dollars against us who don't have to disclose anything. So we have to be prepared to ward that off."