Morning Bell: The Unstimulated Obama Economy

Newsflash from The New York Times: President Barack Obama’s stimulus did not work. No, the Times doesn’t say that in so many words, but in an op-ed this morning, the paper laments the sputtering economy and the fact that Washington just isn’t doing enough to help the economy grow. The problem, of course, is that Washington has done too much of the wrong things to get the economy moving again.

The economic news that’s really sticking in the Old Gray Lady’s craw is revised data released last week that shows the economy’s growth stuck at 1.8 percent, slow consumer spending, stagnant wages, higher prices for gas and food, the poor housing market, flagging consumer confidence and a recent Labor Department report showing a higher-than-expected rise in claims for jobless benefits. The Times complains:

The grim numbers tell an unavoidable truth: The economy is not growing nearly fast enough to dent unemployment. Unfortunately, no one in Washington is pushing policies to promote stronger growth now.

What the Times forgot to mention, though, is that Washington over the past two years has done a lot—a whole lot—with the biggest ticket item being the Obama-Reid-Pelosi $787 billion stimulus that was designed to “create or save” 3.5 million new jobs by 2011. Despite the extraordinarily high cost, that didn’t happen, and unemployment has increased to 9 percent.

But don’t tell that to the Obama stimulus apologists, though. In an interview on Fox News Sunday, host Chris Wallace remarked that in light of the dismal economic numbers, the Obama Administration’s policies and near $1 trillion stimulus “isn’t working” and asked Rep. Donna Edwards (D-MD), a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus to respond. For her, those dots just don’t connect:

Well, I mean – I don’t know that I agree with that, because, you know, first of all – let me finish here. I mean, first of all, the trillion dollars for stimulus package – actually $786 billion – was absolutely necessary to make sure that this economy didn’t go into a freefall. We also know that we had to make sure that we began to stimulate the kind of growth that we need in this country to invest in the future.

For the American people, though, that reality is hitting home. Joseph Lupton, an economist at JP Morgan Chase and Company, says, “There are pretty big costs to not really generating a sizeable recovery.” And as The Wall Street Journal reports, those costs are high unemployment, with 5.8 million people out of work for more than six months.

Read More at The Foundry Mike Brownfield, The Foundry