So the cool one’s having his feelings hurt.
Andrew Ross Sorkin in NY Times Mag
Two months ago, across an assembly-room table in a factory in Jacksonville, Fla., President Barack Obama was talking to me about the problem of political capital. His efforts to rebuild the U.S. economy from the 2008 financial crisis were being hit from left, right and center. And yet, by his own assessment, those efforts were vastly underappreciated. “I actually compare our economic performance to how, historically, countries that have wrenching financial crises perform,” he said. “By that measure, we probably managed this better than any large economy on Earth in modern history.”
Say, professor, “your” economy hasn’t exceeded 3% GDP growth once your entire presidency.
It was a notably grand claim, especially given the tenor in which presidential candidates of both parties had taken to criticizing the state of the American economy — “Many are still barely getting by,” Hillary Clinton said, while Donald Trump said that “we’re a third-world nation.” Asked if he was frustrated by all the criticism, Obama insisted that he wasn’t, at least not personally. “It has frustrated me only insofar as it has shaped the political debate,” he said. “We were moving so fast early on that we couldn’t take victory laps. We couldn’t explain everything we were doing. I mean, one day we’re saving the banks; the next day we’re saving the auto industry; the next day we’re trying to see whether we can have some impact on the housing market.”
Obama did not save the banks. TARP was signed into law by George W. Bush. And the program netted the federal government a profit.
Obama did not save the American auto industry. George W. Bush signed that into law.
What has Obama done to the American economy? Unleash an army of activist, anti-business progressives into the federal bureaucracy who invent new ways to hinder growth. Congrats, man!
But he doesn’t see it that way.
“I mean, the truth of the matter is that if we had been able to more effectively communicate all the steps we had taken to the swing voter,” he said, “then we might have maintained a majority in the House or the Senate.”
Yeah, if only he’d been able to explain why slow growth is a good thing, he’d have won more votes. And if you could convince families that they really did save $2500 on their health insurance instead of paying more, you’d get more love.
He quickly returned to the topic of public perception. “If you ask the average person on the streets, ‘Have deficits gone down or up under Obama?’ probably 70 percent would say they’ve gone up,” Obama said, with some justifiable exasperation — the deficit has in fact declined (by roughly three-quarters) since he took office, and polls do show that a large majority of Americans believe the opposite.
Deficits have indeed gone down, thanks largely to the budget sequester, which also severely weakened the military.
But the national debt? That has has ballooned to nearly $19 trillion under Obama, up from $11 trillion. Obama assembled a debt commission to offer ways to fix the problem. He ignored them all.