President Obama's own instincts on the conundrum of jobs versus deficit continue to be better than those of many of his own economic advisers. He is under heavy pressure from the commentariat, the deficit hawks in Congress and the think tanks, and from the budget balance faction at the White House, to define deficit-reduction as the prime menace facing the country. There are distressing reports circulated by the austerity crowd that a grand bargain to shrink the debt by whacking social insurance will be the centerpiece of the January State of the Union Address.
But Obama himself seems to know better. At Thursday's Jobs Summit, the president spent more than three hours circulating among the smaller discussion groups and then leading a general discussion when the entire gathering of about 130 guests regrouped.
He was in terrific form. I was delighted that he called on me, leading to this exchange: