— From NBC's Betsy Cline
In a speech this morning to the Economic Club of Washington, Christina Romer
, chair of the president's Council of Economic Advisers, presented what she called a "clear-eyed assessment" of the stimulus and where it goes from here.
In her remarks, Romer reassured the audience that the government's fiscal stimulus was working, as demonstrated by a slowing in the rise of unemployment and better-than-expected GDP numbers.
She even compared the Recovery Act to an antibiotic prescribed for an infection, saying it's important to follow the regimen for the entire course before determining whether or not it was successful. Romer added she would continue watching the economy's progress through the end of the year before considering a second stimulus. "I think we ought to give it time to work," she said. "If by the end of the year we're not seeing results, we'll start seeing what other things need to be done."
Video: Christina Romer, head of the Council of Economic Advisers joins MSNBC's Dylan Ratigan to discuss the U.S. economy's better-than-expected showing in the second quarter.
When asked about a tax increase for middle-class families, Romer jokingly asked if she could leave now. She went on to say that health-care reform will lower the deficit, thereby reducing the need to tax middle income Americans. But -- like Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and chief White House economics adviser Larry Summers did over the weekend -- she didn't entirely rule out a middle-class tax increase.
The biggest problem that the stimulus has faced so far? Romer recounted when a blogger misinterpreted an entry and erroneously reported that the government had spent a million dollars on two pounds of ham. In fact, the administration bought 760,000 pounds of ham, in two-pound packages, for food banks, which Romer called a "pretty good value at about $1.50 a pound."