On Jan. 21, 2009, President John McCain took office.
We strongly editorialized against McCain's election. After all, it was he who said, "The issue of economics is not something I've understood as well as I should." So not only did we warn you -- he warned you.
We urged American voters to set aside their racist fears of electing to the presidency the son of a Kenyan sheepherder and a white woman from Kansas. We contrasted McCain's tired, discredited vision for the American economy with that of the young, dashing senator from Illinois by way of Hawaii, Barack Obama. We predicted that under McCain's stewardship our severely ailing economy would get worse. In fact, we underestimated how bad things would get -- and how quickly.
Two and a half years later, the numbers don't lie:
Unemployment rate of 9.1 percent; 24 million Americans unemployed or underemployed; a lousy 1.8 percent gross domestic product increase last quarter; gasoline prices at nearly $4 a gallon (or doubled since he took office); farm prices on corn up 164 percent, in part because of the use of corn for ethanol (a product without a market if not for farm subsidies); higher prices on cattle because of costlier corn feed; and higher prices on other goods because of higher transportation costs.
More grim numbers:
Over $3.7 trillion in new debt; debt, as a percent of GDP, now tops 100 percent, up from 75 percent; $1.6 trillion deficit -- more than triple the '08 deficit; fears of inflation after repeated rounds of Federal Reserve "quantitative easing" -- creating new money to supposedly stimulate borrowing and investing; bailouts of banks, insurance companies, auto companies and other businesses deemed too big to fail; depressed consumer confidence; a quarter of homeowners "upside-down," owing more on their mortgage than the value of their house.
We warned you.
Behind those cold numbers stand human beings who suffer. Yes, the stock market has mostly recovered, small comfort to the out-of-work. People ask: Do McCain's disastrous economic polices mean that America now enters a "new normal" -- tepid job growth that fails to keep pace with new entrants to the job market, let alone enough growth to dent the high unemployment number? Not exactly a "shining city upon a hill."
McCain recently claimed that he "saved" the domestic auto industry and that Chrysler "has repaid every dime and more of what it owes American taxpayers." No, it hasn't. Furthermore, taxpayers will never recoup some $14 billion in loans to the auto industry.