Back in February of 2009, the newly inaugurated Barack Obama warned that without passage of his $800 billion stimulus plan, "an economy that is already in crisis will be faced with catastrophe."
The President was so confident of his Keynesian spending barrage on steroids that he chided those who questioned him for presenting "phony arguments and petty politics."
Only six months later in August 2009, Obama claimed victory. "We've rescued our economy from catastrophe," he announced in a Rose Garden ceremony, even though unemployment stood at 9.4%.
His boasting was at best a bit premature. Two years later the economy is still in a rut. Among other claims that proved to be false, Obama promised his spending binge would prevent unemployment from exceeding 8.0%. It immediately shot beyond his self-imposed threshold to over 10% and stubbornly remains at 9.1% today. Fourteen million Americans remain technically unemployed by the government's statistics. In addition, another 6 million are unaccounted for having given up looking for a job and have left the workforce.
Obama said his plan would "save-or-create" 3.5 million jobs, but new job creation has been the most stubborn of any recession since the Great Depression. Government is about the only place that has increased in employment, which only added to the growth in federal spending. Consumer confidence continues to sag, reaching a seven month low in July. Economists at the Fed have revised downward their already modest projections for 2011 growth to a yawnable 2.7 – 2.9%.
As the recession drags on instead of bold predictions and victory celebrations, the President has changed is tone. All those "shovel ready projects funded by the stimulus that were going to jolt the economy and create jobs "weren't so shovel ready" after all he dismissively joked. This recovery is "going to take time" he now says, and instead of criticism of his failed policies, Americans need to just "be patient."
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