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Pelosi, Miller and economists discuss what’s next

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, and Education and Labor Committee Chairman George Miller, D-Martinez, took part today in an emergency economic forum on Capitol Hill to discuss economists’s recommendations on what we should do next to create jobs and stabilize the financial markets.

Congress’ approval of the Bush Administration’s $700 billion bailout plan was only the first step, Democrats say; next up should be a large, direct government investment in the economy to help quickly create jobs and rebuild infrastructure, help struggling states (like California) and extend unemployment insurance.

Among those testifying today were:

  • Iowa Gov. Chet Culver;
  • Economic Policy Institute economist, author and CNBC contributor Jared Bernstein;
  • Brookings Institution ecomomist Doug Elmendorf;
  • investment banker William R. Hambrecht;
  • author and American Prospect cofounder and editor-in-chief Robert Kuttner;
  • former Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Arthur Levitt;
  • Brookings Institution economics senior fellow and former Federal Reserve Board vice-chair Alice M. Rivlin;
  • Decision Economics Inc. president and chief economist Allen Sinai, formerly of Lehman Brothers;
  • Columbia University professor, Nobel laureate and former World Bank senior vice president and chief economist Joseph E. Stiglitz;
  • Harvard University professor and former U.S. Treasury Secretary Lawrence H. Summers; and
  • University of California, Berkeley Haas School of Business professor and former President’s Council of Economic Advisers chairwoman Laura Tyson.
  • After today’s forum, Pelosi announced House Democrats will begin laying groundwork for a comprehensive economic recovery and job creation program with a hearing before Miller’s committee sometime next week; Miller said that hearing will focus on the nation’s severe unemployment outlook and strategies to spur job growth.

    “The credit crisis and stock market crash is making an already dire unemployment situation worse,” he said in a statement issued today. “The top economists who have briefed the Democratic leadership today and over the last few weeks all agree that unemployment is going to continue to rise. We are going to examine the best ways to get Americans back to work and put our economy on the road to recovery.”

    Miller already has scheduled a hearing for 10 a.m. next Wednesday, Oct. 22 in San Francisco — speakers and location still to be announced — on how the financial crisis is affecting workers’ retirement savings; an initial hearing on this topic last week in Washington featured testimony that workers’ retirement savings have lost $2 trillion in value over the last 15 months.

    Josh Richman

    Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.