Across the web relief is spreading that unemployment actually ticked down to 9.1% this morning. Even battered markets may take this as good news and rebound today. Perhaps there is an upper limit to the amount of economic damage that the president can do?
Or not. Here’s an exchange from the White House Press Room yesterday (HT: Mike Allen’s Playbook):
ABC’s Jake Tapper, to Jay Carney at yesterday’s briefing: “[W]hat is the President doing? … [W]e know that … he went to fundraisers last night. What is he doing today? … He stood up there and hectored Congress about all the stuff that needs to be done to help create jobs … and then he flew off to Chicago. What’s he doing today? … So the same stuff he was doing a couple of months ago, calling on Congress to pass things? … Has he called Mitch McConnell? Has he called John Boehner? … [I]s he working on things that they can do? … You’re the one that’s always saying the President can walk and chew gum at the same time. … Other than calling on Congress to pass things that you’ve been calling on Congress to pass for months, what is he doing to help the economy?”
–Carney: “He is working very closely with his senior economic advisors to come up with new proposals to help advance growth and job creation. He is working with members of Congress to help advance growth and job creation. And he will continue to do that. There are things that Congress can do now to create jobs, and they should; there are things that Congress will be able to do when they return from recess to help create jobs and spur growth, and they should. And he looks forward to working with Congress to do that.”
Obama’s ideas are known to be the economic equivalent of Laetrile for cancer patients, so they won’t be going anywhere in the House, period. All the president could do –and would do if he were serious about the joblessness– is urge the repeal of Obamacare and the extension of current tax rates another 10 years along with a slashing of the corporate tax rate. Clarity and certainty about the basic rules of the game would do an enormous amount to achieve lift-off, but of course the president won’t do that, so we are stuck in the Obama swamp until early 2013.
Which doesn’t mean that markets won’t begin to factor his defeat at the hands of the GOP nominee into the equation. The moment that Mitt Romney or any of the other nominees consolidates the signals of victory, he or she will become the message giver and that message will be a return to the pro-growth and pro-defense policies of Reagan. Markets will rise as a result. Obama will claim credit, but his number is the unemployment number, and as Chris Cillizza notes today it is hard to imagine that number being below 8.5% in 15 months, and certainly not below 8%, which is an enormous obstacle in his path to re-elect.
And where are the new jobs coming? Places like Texas and South Carolina, so the unemployment rate Obama gets credit for in places like California and Illinois are his to explain.
Michael Barone notes today the Rasmussen number about just how bad Americans feel about the economy. This is the rational response to the fact that the president is in charge and the president is an incompetent. In the private sector, the board of a publicly-traded company could move for his dismissal, but not our system. We are stuck with Chauncey Gardener for another year-and-a-half.
Time does fly, so markets won’t wait until January 2013 to bet on the rebound that will come with competence, energy, optimism and sound growth policies, but employers will certainly want more than hope before adding significant numbers of new employees that bring with them Obamacare’s burdens.
The best use of the time of Tea Party activists and grassroots Republicans is on the Senate campaigns listed in this column at Townhall.com. If Mandel/Hasner/Cruz et al sweep into office along with a new president and an expanded House majority, imagine the overhaul that could follow within 100 days. (By contrast, imagine the market crash if Obama managed a re-elect through a third party bit of mischief etc).
The real recovery is two years away, but it can get here, and it can be big.
To make it easy for you, here are the big nine at this time:
UPDATE: Froma reader who is a retired general officer:
I suggest that the problem is even more basic than using a hyped-up sophisticated placebo [Laetrile]. Obama and his Keynesian advisors are more like 18th century physicians of King George III who had no concept of the complexities of health and medicine. They never imagined that disease could be caused by microscopic organisms. They had no concept of the delicate balances of the human body which can be moderated by surgery or chemicals. They could only inspect the stools and prescribe more bleeding until the patient either died or got better. Summers, Obama and their crowd don’t know how economies work. But they are willing to bleed (tax) it because, in their world, there are no other therapies. Heaven help us.