The Daily Caller

The Daily Caller
U.S. President Barack Obama announces the nomination of Jason Furman to be the new chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisors in the State Dining Room at the White House in Washington, June 10, 2013. REUTERS/Larry Downing U.S. President Barack Obama announces the nomination of Jason Furman to be the new chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisors in the State Dining Room at the White House in Washington, June 10, 2013. REUTERS/Larry Downing  

Obama’s top economic advisor presents two different faces when discussing labor market, immigration

Photo of Neil Munro
Neil Munro
White House Correspondent

When he’s talking to reporters, the chairman of the president’s Council of Economic Advisors champions the president’s top legislative goal — boosting the number of legal immigrants.

But when he’s talking to his fellow economists about Americans’ low wages, Jason Furman turns 180 degrees — by pushing the contradictory goal of having a “tighter labor market” where employers can’t find enough workers.

That West Wing split between the president and his economic advisor is a gift for GOP reformers, such as Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, who is pushing for a low-immigration, high-wage economic policy.

“The President’s top economic advisor has said we need a tighter labor market — a statement completely at odds with the Administration’s foremost legislative goal… [which is] an immigration plan that will dramatically surge the number of workers competing for jobs,” Sessions said in a statement to The Daily Caller. (RELATED: Sessions chides GOP donors, House leaders, journos on amnesty)

In numerous speeches, Obama has pressured and pleaded with House Republicans to back the Senate’s “Comprehensive Immigration Reform” rewrite. The Senate bill would provide amnesty for at least 10 million illegal immigrants, and roughly double the annual inflow of 1 million new immigrants and 650,000 guest-workers into the U.S. labor market.

That market is already glutted with millions of unemployed Americans — and four million American youths turn 18 each year.

Passage of an immigration bill “has got to be a top priority,” Obama told Democratic legislators Feb. 14. ”We’re going to have to keep on working on that.”

Simultaneously, Obama’s main 2014 campaign theme is the lack of economic opportunity for poor Americans, and the widening wealth gap between rich and poor.

“This is the defining challenge of our time: Making sure our economy works for every working American,” Obama declared in a Dec. 4 speech on opportunity, which was spurred by data showing that the top 1 percent snagged nearly all the extra wealth created in Obama’s tenure.

“Increasing inequality… challenges the very essence of who we are as a people,” said Obama, who is using the opportunity theme to urge voter support for interventionist government.