"All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way," thus wrote Leo Tolstoy in this epic novel about faithlessness, Anna Karenina.
And so it goes with the presidency of Barack Obama.
The mistake many commentators have made was in expecting that the unhappy presidency of Barack Obama would resemble the unhappy presidency of Jimmy Carter, just because they are both liberals.
I’m reminded of this as I look at the PMI figures for August.
Whereas Carter struggled with high inflation and unemployment, Obama struggles with sluggish economic growth and high employment underutilization.
“U.S. manufacturing activity eased in August as output grew at the slowest pace in 10 months,” reports Reuters, “but demand picked up and inventories fell, suggesting growth may soon speed up, an industry report showed on Tuesday.”
It’s that suggestion that “growth may soon speed up” that’s been tantalizing us for years, but yet never comes to fruition. It leads to the leaden sense of disappointment and disbelief for many of us.
Invariably, good numbers reported in one area of the economy, under Obama, are followed by bad numbers reported in another area of the economy.
The good numbers suggest that the United States is still the richest, most powerful, most innovative economy in the world.
The bad numbers suggest that we have one of the worst political environments we’ve faced in 80 years. The fault lies with both political parties.
The most interesting thing about this phenomenon is that politicians have largely shaped this poor political environment on purpose.
This was not true with Jimmy Carter presidency.
During the Carter presidency the discontents of various classes of voters were built over a long period of time kind of organically.
Sure Carter mismanaged his times, but he was more a symptom of the problem than the actual problem.
Obama—and his friends, including guys like John McCain-- on the other hand, are the problem.
Let’s take Syria as an example.
Much of the discontent that is now evident with Obama’s decision to use military might in Syria has been purposefully fomented by politicians from both the right and the left.