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Romer Says Tenuous Finances in Parts of Europe Cause Worry

Budget woes in Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Spain are “something to worry about” as the U.S. economy continues its climb out of recession, said Christina Romer, former chairman of President Barack Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers.

“We know that there are still some countries on the periphery of Europe that - whose fiscal situation is tenuous,” Romer, a University of California-Berkeley professor, said in an interview with Bloomberg Television special correspondent Willow Bay. “That’s certainly something to worry about.”

Romer said she is “not very” concerned about a so-called double-dip recession, and she said the U.S. economy is generally on a course of “steady expansion.” At the same time, she said the U.S. construction and housing markets will be a drag on the recovery.

“We’re in a period of slow recovery. And what we need is fast recovery,” Romer said yesterday. She predicted a “long hard slog” for the housing market before it recovers fully from the recession and financial crisis.

The U.S. economy shed 95,000 jobs in September as the unemployment rate held at 9.6 percent, according to data released this month. The labor market’s struggles have been affecting consumer spending, the biggest part of the economy, and limiting growth heading into 2011.

Romer said the Obama administration should have been more aggressive last year in seeking additional fiscal stimulus. She said too much time was spent debating the best course of action and the administration missed a window of opportunity “before stimulus became a dirty word.”

“We should’ve just said let’s just pick one of them and run with it rather than continuing to discuss it,” she said.

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