In a White House press conference call Tuesday evening (embargoed until midnight E.T.), Council of Economic Advisers chair Christina Romer took reporters' questions about the CEA's new report to Congress on job creation through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. (Report itself, also embargoed until now, is available here).
As a follow-on to an earlier question about whether any second stimulus would contain a targeted jobs program, I asked Dr. Romer whether any further stimulus might include a Works Progress Administration-style component (i.e., whether the government itself would employ people to work on projects that benefit the community; in the WPA's heyday during the Great Depression, this included everything from road and dam construction, to the building and decoration of Oregon's Timberline Lodge, to literacy and arts projects).
Dr. Romer's answer was expected but disappointing. In short: yes, the Administration wants to create jobs building and repairing the nation's infrastructure projects (which, I'll note, ignores the broad scope of important work the WPA did), but it's doing so solely by giving money to the private sector. My Q&A with Romer is immediately below:
The call also covered topics including the Administration's controversial "jobs lost or saved" measure and relative Q3 and Q4 performance. Economics wonks can hear the full conference call, including Q&A with reporters from the Wall Street Journal, Barron's, National Public Radio, etc., below. (One short section, provided "on background," has been omitted.)