Today, the administration wheeled out a new option to add to its Repertoire of Incompetence: 5) Act Like John McCain.
It’s in response to Christina Romer’s reversal of administration economic rhetoric from the far-off days of last week. Back then, the economy was fundamentally weak; now it’s fundamentally sound. As the AP summed it up (somewhat devastatingly):
The economy is fundamentally sound despite the temporary “mess” it’s in, the White House said Sunday in the kind of upbeat assessment that Barack Obama had mocked as a presidential candidate.
What’s the truth? Is is the economy fundamentally weak, or fundamentally sound? The answer is “Yes.” On the fundamentally weak side, there are two things that make it so: we’re in the middle of a fairly nasty recession which is coupled with a very nasty insecurity in the markets over whether the government is going to push policies that will hamper regrowth. In case you missed it, Ed Morrissey linked to this piece from 2004 on what caused the Great Depression to last so long. Their conclusion? Undue government interference in what should have been a largely economics-based problem. But don’t worry: they also indicated “that a relapse isn’t likely unless lawmakers gum up a recovery with ill-conceived stimulus policies.”
Well, it was 2004. They had no way of knowing.
On the fundamentally sound side, though: we did not burn down all of our physical plant. The caldera under Yellowstone has not exploded, dooming us all: the asteroid from last week didn’t land in the South Pacific, thus inundating California; no solar flares, no nuclear exchange, not even a mechanized invasion of the continental United States. We have all the stuff, still: and we have a lot of stuff. And we have, conventional online wisdom to the contrary, a very clever and well-educated population that is good at figuring out how to get around little problems like a total economic meltdown. So we’re going to get through this eventually, after we’ve finished trying everything else first (which is one of our less endearing, but well-ingrained, societal habits).
None of this, of course, excuses the White House from so shamelessly adopting the campaign rhetoric of a man that Obama spent most of last year viciously mocking, on both the political and personal level*. Although it’s nice to see that it only takes a two thousand point drop in the Dow to convince this administration to lay off of the Permanent Emergency nonsense, even temporarily; I would have personally guessed three. I also expect that this current burst of optimism will last about as long as the current rally in the market does, or when the Democrats decide that they need to spend another trillion dollars of your money on their pet projects. The brainstorming sessions on the best way to balance long term (maximum financial payoffs) and short term needs (avoiding total market meltdown) must have been something fierce.
*I’ll believe that we’ll see an apology for either roughly five minutes after they demonstrate the existence of pegasi.
Crossposted to Moe Lane.