Free Markets, Free People

Presidential Reality Check (Update)

Keith Hennesey does a fair job of fisking President Obama’s Washington Post editorial in which Obama tries to put a happy face on what his administration has done thus far to combat the recession. Hennesy included a chart by Don Marron that graphically takes Obama to task on one of his favorite claims, namely:

Nearly six months ago, my administration took office amid the most severe economic downturn since the Great Depression.

Marron’s chart:


Now Obama’s claim is certainly close to being true, but by 1/10th of a percent, it isn’t quite there. And, it could be argued, the past 6 months of this administration’s policies has moved it closer to being what he claims than it was when he took office.

But when he talks about the gloom and doom of the “most severe economic downturn since the Great Depression”, remember this chart. He and the Democrats are and have been using that claim as a means of justifying all sorts of deficit spending. It is also the means to justify health care reform (claim: health care spending is going to “bankrupt us”) and cap-and-trade (claim: the route to fiscal health is “green jobs” and “green industry”).

The point here is to understand how overplayed the “most severe economic downturn since the Great Depression” really is. Yeah, it’s a nasty one, but in comparison to the Great Depression it simply doesn’t compare. In fact, it isn’t even close.

UPDATE: Here’s a perfect example of an exaggerated and, naturally, unfalsifiable claim by a politician.


2 Responses to Presidential Reality Check (Update)

  • Behind The Meltdown: Many Americans are unaware of the causes of the greatest economic calamity of our lifetime. A new congressional report details how government politicized housing, wrecking the economy.

  • If you set aside the idea that Obama actual cares about the state the economy you realize this is a modestly clever ploy to expand government as much as a one term President can.

    The original stimulus spending is spread over 5+ years. So even if you believed in its effectiveness, there’s no logical way you’d expect rapid results. But since when has a bill been passed on logic. In fact, it was suppose to do all these great things right away like 8% unemployment. And the need was so urgent it had to be passed quickly and there was no time for debate.

    Fast forward to today and all of a sudden that bill is now slow a slow acting measure. So of course, since things are much worse than expected, we will need a fast acting high dollar stimulus package. Or at least that’s the sales pitch we are headed for.

    The reality is that Obama used his ‘political capital’ to pass a future spending bill. He did it because he knows when that time comes he won’t either have the job, a Democrat congress, or the political capital to pass it then. So he’s going to let the weight of the crisis at hand pass a present day stimulus package.

    The net result is that he will pass two major spending bills where is he tried to pass the measure chronologically, he would likely only get one spending bill passed before he lost the ability to pass a second one.

    At least that’s the plan. I suspect the ‘political capital’ is quite exhausted already and that passing a stimulus bill to address the present day need may be more difficult than imagined. However I have to give the socialist points for being good at his job. I just wish it wasn’t expanding government.