On a conference call today with economists who blog and folks who blog on the economy, Speaker Pelosi sought to bridge the gap between progressive proponents of public investment to create jobs, and right-leaning Democrats touting austerity for immediate deficit reduction, by saying: “We will never have deficit reduction without job creation.”
The Speaker statement is grounded on the notion that without a growing economy that creates jobs and expands the nation’s tax base, the deficit cannot be tamed over the long-term.
At one point on the call, she went even further, stating she wants “a jobs bill that will reduce the deficit.”
One possible way to help the bill attain that goal, according to Speaker Pelosi, is to “front load infrastructure” investment, then “pay for it over a five-year period.”
She indicated it was a strong possibility that the House jobs bill would include increased aid for states and localities. Such aid was scaled back in the stimulus package by self-described “moderate” Senators, and as a result, many state and local government have cut back services and laid off workers, undermining the impact of the stimulus.
Pelosi also suggested any state and local aid would be “more prescriptive” than before, to ensure that all such aid goes toward saving jobs.
However, since Pelosi instigated the call to encourage economists to propose additional ideas for consideration, it would appear that final decisions on legislation are not exactly imminent, even though it has been reported the House leadership would like to pass a jobs bill next month.
UPDATE: Another dispatch from the Pelosi call from Wonk Room’s Pat Garofalo.