The rage of the heat blowing in the direction of the White House this past Friday was so intense that in less than three hours from saying what has to be the most universally disconnected assertion in Presidential history President Obama was back at the microphone lapping up what he said like a dog at his own vomit.
He had no choice.
Never in the course of economic stagnation has a less-feeling, more callous, completely out-of-touch sentence been uttered.
"The private sector is doing fine."
In all of the debates that can be had over policy direction, administration priorities, whether or not the free market should be allowed to fail (and hence reinvent itself), or not (and hence keep the drag of economic growth going) one thing was known by both sides in the partisan ranks--the private sector is not fine.
America currently has the lowest participation in the employment pool of workers (by percentage) in over thirty years. Long after the 99 weeks of unemployment checks stopped coming, people have given up. The job market has dried up. Innovation has died a painful assassination, the bullet being fired into the head, by the administration's own war on the small business man or woman.
It is painful. It is humiliating. It is gut wrenching. In short it is anything but "fine."
If we were looking at the same employment pool (numbers) as when President Obama came into office in 2009, our actual unemployment number (those who are out of work but desire it desperately) is closer to 14%, and our underemployment (families who are working has hard as they can but can't pay for their basic needs) is closer to 25%.
There is legitimate discussion to be had about solutions to these dismaying numbers. There are genuine debates that can be had on college campuses this early fall about which direction would solve the problems. But no one can dispute that the private sector (the overwhelming engine of economic activity) is anything close to fine.
What was almost as equally disturbing the in the soundbite taken from President Obama's answer was the portion following the the "fine" comment.
He proceeded: "Where we’re seeing weaknesses in our economy have to do with state and local government. Often times cuts initiated by, you know, Governors or mayors who are not getting the kind of help that they have in the past from the federal government and who don’t have the same kind of flexibility as the federal government in dealing with fewer revenues coming in."
Here we see revealed an equally inane view of economic need, growth, development and solution.
In reality governments have tremendous power to levy the kind of help needed. State and local governments have fewer solutions than the federal government, but only by one choice. State, Local, and Federal governments all have the ability to borrow money or to raise taxes.
But state and local governments are under the gun of an electorate who is very close to them, doesn't want to see fiscal mismanagement, and has no use for even more of their hard earned money being lost in wasteful fashion. The federal government being further removed from the people, gets away with high-end Las Vegas conferences, endless rounds of golf, or sending the first dame and kids off on Air Force 1 vacations at the drop of the hat--without as much immediate consequence.
The federal government also has the one ability that states and municipalities do not--the control the printing presses to the currency. And in this administration's view--printing up as much as we need--doesn't seem to be terribly objectionable.
One of the reasons, I'm earnestly convinced, that President Obama does so few press briefings in recent days is partly due to the fact that he does not seem to be able to appear without demonstrating a considerable distance between himself, and "the little people." He has demonstrated this in his positions on fiscal issues, the manipulation of our national defense--and access for Hollywood insiders, and even every day American moral values. Bottom line: the king has no clothes.
His attempt to back pedal later on Friday was all spin to save face, and to not take a blow in this tightening election cycle in which normally blue states like Wisconsin, Michigan, North Carolina, and Colorado--maybe even California are all coming into play for the GOP. But don't be confused--he believes he created jobs, he's done his part, and he has a tee time at 4pm.
Perhaps the most "out-of-touch" assertion ever issued by a sitting President, has also sealed--at least for Obama--the reality, that he is also... finally... for the good of America...