When you're president of the United States and your primary claim to fame is your economic prowess but your economic record fails by all objective measures, what do you do? You call on your skills as a virtuoso propagandist.
With the perceived catastrophic economic crisis of 2008-09, President Barack Obama captured the presidency at the perfect time in America's modern history for him to unleash his grandiose socialist policies -- policies so ambitious that the American people would never have tolerated them under any other circumstances.
With the nation in near panic over the impending doom of the economy, Obama presented his now-infamous "stimulus plan" to artificially create government demand by spending more than $800 billion of borrowed money to "jump-start the economy."
Being a die-hard Keynesian, Obama probably believed his program would create jobs. But given his attitude about the wealthy being undeserving of their good fortune, he probably wasn't risking too much in the event it didn't work. The funds would redistribute wealth to those less fortunate and whom society, in Obama's view, has cheated. It would also force allocations of money to "green" enterprises that would never be pursued if left to the sanity of private-sector consumer demand, further expand the public sector in general and provide ample slush money to reward unions and other supporters to shore up his re-election efforts.
According to Keynesian theory, as I understand it, it doesn't matter much where the government spends other people's money -- just as long as it spends it. Once the money is injected into the economy (never mind that an equal amount is taken out of the economy from the private sector), a multiplier effect unfolds to stimulate economic growth and jobs.
But just to hedge his bets, Obama was careful in choosing his words in predicting the coming prosperity. He said he would "save or create 3 million jobs" -- or whatever number suited his purposes at the particular speech he was giving. Reasonable people said at the time that this was a bizarre formulation -- that it would be impossible to prove or disprove such a claim -- but the media dutifully ignored the skeptics.
But Obama wasn't always disciplined in his message. Sometimes he allowed his exalted opinion of himself to seduce him into projecting that his plan would guarantee that unemployment would not exceed 8 percent.