“Pretty darn f***ed.”
That was the assessment of Christina Romer, President Obama’s first chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, when asked about the Standard & Poor’s downgrade of America last week.
Appearing on a cable talk show, she was asked how the president’s application of Keynesian economics was going — you know, dumping nearly a trillion dollars into the banks and financial institutions, taking over General Motors. The professor of economics put on her instructor’s cap.
“The basic idea that if you increase government spending or you cut people’s taxes, that stimulates the economy and lowers the unemployment rate, is a very widely accepted idea. It’s in every economics textbook; thats what we teach our undergraduates, and I certainly try to teach them the truth,” she said. “It is a very known and accepted idea and fact and the empirical evidence is definitely there — and people just want to say the sky is green.”
So, clearly, Mr. Obama’s solution has worked — it says so in the textbooks.
But wait: Unemployment is at 9.1 percent, 46 million Americans are on food stamps, the Obama administration claims 117,000 jobs were created in July — but payrolls dropped by 38,000 — the Dow has gone wild, global markets are freaked, and even the New York Times writes that it’s now time to say the words: “double dip.”
Mr. Obama’s policies are, it can also be said at long last, a dismal failure. He has been in office for 30 months, so his agenda, with the help of a sympathetic Senate, has been, for the most part, enacted. And things have gotten worse. Note to the GOP: If you’re looking for a mantra for 2012, it’s right there — Things Have Gotten Worse. Clean, simple, true.
Mr. Obama, meanwhile, is fully prepared to sprint from his record. Two years ago, he vowed he’d beat the economy into shape: “Thats my job, and its a job I gladly accept.” But just last week, collecting campaign cash from those millionaires and billionaires he despises (not to mention those darn corporate-jet owners), the Man From Hope (and Change) had a whole ‘nother tune.
“When I said, ‘Change we can believe in,’ I didn’t say, ‘Change we can believe in tomorrow,’ ” he said in Chicago. “Not, ‘Change we can believe in next week.’ We knew this was going to take time, because we’ve got this big, messy, tough democracy.”
He also began to set up a straw man to run against, and FYI, no, it’s not the Republicans, or even the tea party — it’s George W. Bush, again. “I have to admit,” the president said in that fake-candid way where he seems to be imparting a secret but is in fact lying through his teeth, “I didn’t know how steep the climb was going to be.”
Um, too late. Remember in 2008, when you ran for president? You insisted you were the best man for the job — over and over and over. And now you do own the economy, like it or not. Comparing yourself to Mr. Bush now might not even work as a campaign ploy: The 43rd president did run up some debt, but his highest annual deficit was $400 billion; you’re on pace to add nearly $5 trillion to the federal debt in just your first three years.
America went 235 years with the best credit rating in the world. Then, Mr. Obama came along, added more debt than the first 43 presidents (check it yourself; politifact.com says it’s true), and got us downgraded.
Maybe thatll be the president’s re-election motto: “It took 235 years, but I got us downgraded.” Or maybe: “Re-elect Obama — more debt than all 43 president before him.”
Or maybe hell just latch on to the wise words of his former chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers: “We’re pretty darn f***ed.”
That’ll fit nicely on a bumper sticker.
c Joseph Curl covered the White House and politics for a decade for The Washington Times. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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