But, But, But!

Secretary Geithner can be persuasive, as he was, speaking to Bob Schieffer yesterday. In the end, however, a wary eye is best, caution when coming face to face with a ‘but’, in all of its rhetorical manifestations.

The Secretary, effectively, argues for a ‘broad consideration’ of the indicators and he refers to segments of the economy, okay, fair is fair. There is, however, a ‘but’ here. ‘But’ ….. exclusive of jobs; except for weak job growth, things are looking up. He was asked for his prediction of the unemployment rate on Election Day, he declined. We’re looking rosy, except for the ‘buts’. Why so coy? You could have simply said ‘improved’, that’s not too high a bar; or is it? The unasked and unanswered question Bob simply is; “how far can the economy improve on weak jobs growth?”

Mr. Geithner defends the administration’s economic record, pointing to 4,000,000 private sector jobs and contends, reasonably, that they began from a very bad economic place, also true. The argument is not about the place it began, the argument is surrounded by the fact that this is the slowest recovery since the Great Depression. That fact is, it has to be, a result of policy.

Mr. Geithner’s pride in 4,000,000 jobs is a average of, 105,363.2 jobs created per month since the beginning of the administration. Assume an unrealistic improvement of 20% immediately. That’s 125,315.8 jobs per month. The Brookings Institution has ‘recalculated’ their estimate of 125,000 jobs per month to maintain equilibrium, to 208,000 jobs per month. At that level it will take till 2020 to “close the jobs gap”, compared to pre-recession levels. From where we are with the averages we need the current average rate of job growth must double to get us to the Brooking’s numbers by 2020. There is also the math required to move averages. To get from 100,000 average jobs per month to 200,000 jobs per month requires an actual job growth of 300,000 per month for 37 months. No one is predicting that!

The jobs comments are either an exercise in diminished expectations or the Secretary knows it’s not going to be good and has no intention of being saddled as the horse that carries the news as he announced his intention to be a one term appointee. He also cannot admit to failed policy.

To the south the President maintained his contentions regarding tax policy, adding a new twist. His tax policy for people earning over a million dollars is “the only path to economic growth”, says the President. Of course economic history renders his policy not only hollow but false; ah, what the heck? Why let pesky facts get in the way of a good old fashion class war!

  • D.D.Mao

    As long as the left promises the elimination of poverty,the elimination of war,the elimination of inequality and insecurity they will cry wolf and have their sock puppets respond. They will also continue to portray Conservatives as crass materialist unconcerned except with expanding their own wealth and Mr. Romney makes the perfect poster boy.

  • Matthew

    Certainly, recovery has been slow. The stimulus was too small; the Republicans stymied any other federal help, excepting meager maintenance helping the impoverished remain in that state; newly elected Republicans in 2011 began increasing unemployment, countering the economy’s modest gains in 2010; the Senate Democrats refused to challenge the Republican minority; President Obama had two military quagmires to clean up; and Obama decided to work to ensure that women had equal pay and that all Americans would have health-care while he still had a Democratic majority.

    Given all that, the most difficult tasks facing a president since 1933, we are still slowly recovering.

  • Matthew,

    Keep in mind that the stimulus was the second stimulus, the Bush Administration sent out checks……twice.

    The newly elected Republicans controlled only one House, the Democratic Senate is the body that would simply not move. The Obama strategy in Afghanistan was essentially the same as the Bush surge strategy. Very little difference. The pull out in Iraq was negotiated during the Bush administration as well. It went along unchanged by the Obama administration.

    The equal pay argument doesn’t hold up…at least not in the White HOuse. And, all Americans did have health care, it was not conveient but the sick and injured had to be treated by law. There were not absent health care they were only absent a policy.

    If a matter of economic public policy, if there are not strongly consistent upward movements in the trend lines, it’s not going to work. Last months jobless claims are an indication of a policy that is not going to work.

    In terms of keeping people ‘down’, I would argue that the Great Society programs did more of that than anything I’ve ever seen.

  • Brian

    So if Matthew is right, Obama is amazing and the republicans are to blame for everything?

    Note: None of the stimulus’ worked. Neither George’s or Obama’s. It was just money wasted.

    Note: The Democrat controlled senate is probably the worst group of legislatures ever in our country. Their approval rating is so awful it is funny. They haven’t passed a budget in how long? More than 1,000 days.

    Agreed, Afghanistan and Iraq were mistakes in the way they were carried out. But, don’t give Obama credit. What has he done to rectify the situation?

    Last, OBAMACARE is a mistake and is going to bankrupt America. It was never about insuring the uninsured, millions will still be without health insurance, it was about government taking more control of our lives.

    I have a recommendation for people like Matthew… Leave America and go to Europe. Socialism doesn’t work, but you can keep trying over there. Just leave us alone.