Goolsbee, Hannity debate state of economy

Former White House economic adviser defends Obama's economy


This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," November 15, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: Now it's just nine days into President Obama's re-election and the truth about the economy is now being told. The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits jumped 78,000 to 439,000, the highest level in a year and-a-half.

While some may blame Hurricane Sandy for the elevated numbers, the sharpest increases actually came from two of Obama's most crucial victory states -- Ohio and Pennsylvania. Coincidence?

Anyway, joining us now is Austan Goolsbee. He helped put together this disastrous economic policy -- you know, you are actually a nice guy.



GOOLSBEE: That's how many hours you have been in default, Sean, on the steak dinner you owe me because the president won re-election, 216 hours.

HANNITY: You got used to adding high numbers because of the Obama deficit.

GOOLSBEE: This unemployment number -- when you say some people attribute this to Hurricane Sandy, everyone attributes to Hurricane Sandy.

HANNITY: In Ohio? In Pennsylvania!

GOOLSBEE: What did you say the week before when the number came out and it was actually down quite significantly.

HANNITY: Listen, I thought -- here's the bottom line. If we had the job participation rate that we had when the president took office, you know, you are a smart guy, that the real unemployment is 11.7 percent?

GOOLSBEE: Be a little careful. The population has aged since then so you would expect it to be down some. The labor force participation's the weakest part of the job market. The strongest part is that in the last two, two and-a-half years, we added more than five million jobs.

HANNITY: How can you say that when all of these people are still unemployed and we have fewer Americans working than when Obama was elected?

GOOLSBEE: All I said is that's the strongest part. We are still struggling -- but we are definitely making progress.

HANNITY: No net new jobs.

GOOLSBEE: From the recession, you are right. That's the worst recession in 75 years --

HANNITY: Excuse me --

GOOLSBEE: Are you blaming the president for the recession?

HANNITY: Can I get --

GOOLSBEE: It started before he was even there.

HANNITY: Will you write down a date when you will stop blaming Bush. Just write it down so I can --

GOOLSBEE: You said Bush. I didn't say anything about Bush.

HANNITY: You say I inherited, you are basically saying that!

GOOLSBEE: I am going to write down. I am going to write it down. They, the NBR, dates the end of the recession in the mid-summer 2009 -- I am writing it down right here. You keep this. You keep this. I am going to sign it for you too. Look, you got my signature on there.

HANNITY: Great. I still have to buy you a steak dinner because I lost the bet.

GOOLSBEE: A good one. I don't want a White Castle burger.

HANNITY: I'll take you to any steak house you want. I lost the bet. Rub it in. Gloat.

GOOLSBEE: No, you have to take me. You are not sending me there -- what are you talking about --

HANNITY: I have to sit through dinner with you?


HANNITY: Listen, here's the point. We now have record debt and deficit. The president wants to raise taxes. The economy is slower now than it was in 2010 when he extended the Bush tax --

GOOLSBEE: The unemployment rate is two points lower than it was then.

HANNITY: Yes, but you don't count the people -- they are not counted if they run out of benefits.

GOOLSBEE: Hold on. If you take the broader measure, which I have said and I have written publicly, we shouldn't just take the unemployment rate because that doesn't reflect all the problems.

But if you take that broad measure, which is still in the 14 percent, that thing was almost 18 percent. It was almost 15 percent when the president took office. So you can't try to compare two different numbers. That has improved quite a lot --

HANNITY: We don't count these people. We play with these numbers --

GOOLSBEE: We should count them.

HANNITY: We now have 50 million Americans on food stamps, 50. Just came out. And the CBO is projecting in 2013, the unemployment number's going to go up to 9.3 percent, if we get a grand bargain.

GOOLSBEE: No, if we go off the fiscal cliff they made that prediction.

HANNITY: No, that's even higher. I'm sorry, it's 9.3 percent, goes higher there is no deal.

GOOLSBEE: Look, we should do a deal -- you can't have it both ways --

HANNITY: I don't want Republicans raising tax rates --

GOOLSBEE: If we want to address the deficit, which we should, I think we have to do that with cuts and new revenues. The share of GDP -- we should either broaden the base or raise the rates.

HANNITY: Revenue last year went up 6.4 percent and Obama is still spent a trillion plus more than he took it.

GOOLSBEE: Look, we are coming out of the worst recession of our lifetime.

HANNITY: Will you write down when I'm going to stop hearing this whining --

GOOLSBEE: I am not whining!

HANNITY: Write it down, when will you stop blaming what I inherited? When does he take responsibility?

GOOLSBEE: I'm not blaming anything about what he inherited. We have added more than five million jobs in the last two years?

HANNITY: How many have you lost? You lost more!


HANNITY: We have fewer Americans working.

GOOLSBEE: Look, if you look at the first term of George Bush -- you brought up George Bush --

HANNITY: I'm not talking -- I don't want to hear, I'm going to explode!

GOOLSBEE: Those policies generated fewer jobs than Barack Obama has generated --

HANNITY: All right, what are your Obama friends tell you when you're on this program? They hate it.

GOOLSBEE: They don't like it. That's for sure.


GOOLSBEE: I don't know --

HANNITY: When they ask you --

GOOLSBEE: They don't like you.

HANNITY: Do they think I'm a monster?

GOOLSBEE: They might think you're a monster, I don't know.

HANNITY: Tell Obama to come on the show. Will you do that?

GOOLSBEE: I will -- I will. OK, I'll tell him.

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