This has been the summer of poorly named projects. First we’ve got the follow-up season of Jersey Shore that was actually shot in…Miami? Then we got the President’s “Recovery Summer” in which the economy…continued to lose jobs? How are those two things in any way related? They’re not.
Nevertheless, who did they think they were fooling? At MTV, the home of My Super Sweet 16, Disaster Date, and Teen Mom, we don’t expect much better. But really, this kind of branding flies in Washington? Then again, misnomers reign in DC. Democrats have tried a trillion different names for the trillion dollar spending package they promised would create jobs. Last year Barney Frank said,
“I’m not supposed to call it stimulus. The message experts in Washington have told us that we’re supposed to call it the recovery plan. I was puzzled by that…Most people would rather be stimulated than recover.”
Regardless of what you call it, it didn’t work. If it was a stimulus it wasn’t exactly stimulating and if it was a recovery plan it hasn’t led us to much of a recovery. Now the messaging geniuses at the White House decided to frame the last three months as the “Recovery Summer.” Bad move.
In their seemingly infinite naïveté, Obama and his crack team of advisers saw that thousands of projects funded by the stimulus bill were going to be coming into effect over the summer. Surely, this would spur the much-ballyhooed job creation the administration has been crowing about right! Right? Wrong. Despite Vice President Joe Biden’s declaration that the economy would soon be pumping out 250,000 to 500,000 new jobs a month, our economy has hit a wall.
In August state initial claims for unemployment benefits increased 12,000 to 500,000, the highest since mid-November. Moreover, the 9.5 percent unemployment rate has remained at about the same level as it was in May. Finally, home sales plunged in July, falling 27 percent, the steeping one-month drop since we began keeping the statistic in 1968.
We’ve got more signs pointing towards a double dip than any sort of private sector recovery and the President’s “Recovery Summer” tour is taking a break on the beaches of Martha’s Vineyard.
But things are bound to get better right? Sure, we may have been burned by the Recovery Summer, but there’s always Fall. We’ll have the Autumn Comeback, or the Fall Resurrection, or the Harvest Rebound (thanks thesaurus.com). Sadly, my Magic Eight Ball, which happens to be filled with economists, says “outlook not so good.”
As Economic Policy Institute economist Josh Bivens told ABC:
Two thirds of all stimulus dollars will have been spent by the end of the summer, Bivens said. The economy grew 3.7 percent in the first quarter of 2010 but slowed to 2.4 percent in the second quarter.
Economic growth is “going to drop rapidly for the rest of this year and the Recovery Act is going to add zero. It will have run out,” Bivens said.
As the economy remains on life support, the prognosis for Democrats’ November chances grows more bleak. A new Washington Post poll finds that a mere 27 percent of Americans see the economy as improving. It’s unsurprising then that the same poll finds that a new low of 43 percent approve of Obama’s handling of the economy.
As it turns out, people are smart enough to flip past the title page. Even Snookie knows that Recovery Summer simply doesn’t mean anything without any actual recovery.
by Brandon Greife, Political Director of the College Republican National Committee