This strikes me as, at the very least, overwrought. One would have to accept the idea that Gene Sperling, Timothy Geithner and the president clapped one another on the back when the latest GDP figures arrived. ".04 percent growth in the first quarter. 1.3 percent last quarter. Way to go! We'll be in recession again in no time."
Not likely. The president and his team were no doubt surprised and dismayed by the economy's poor performance in the past six months. The president, after all, has announced for re-election. The country was supposed to be well into the Obama recovery by now. Actually, the summer of 2010 was going to be, the Obama administration promised, "recovery summer."
The president's team has taken to offering ever more creative explanations for the economy's weakness. It was George Bush's fault, or a "bump in the road," or a response to the Eurozone crisis, or a consequence of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, or a result of the drought in the southwest. It's reminiscent of the old Soviet Union's explanation that for the 69th, 70th and 71st consecutive year, poor weather had caused a bad harvest.
The president and his economic advisers should not be surprised, though, because this administration has not been about growth -- it has been about "fairness." And in the name of fairness, it has created the most anti-business climate since Franklin D. Roosevelt's administration. As Steve Wynn, CEO of Wynn Resorts, recently complained:
"I'm saying it bluntly, that this administration is the greatest wet blanket to business and progress and job creation in my lifetime. And I can prove it, and I could spend the next three hours giving you examples of all of us in this marketplace that are frightened to death about all the new regulations, our health care costs escalate, regulations coming from left and right."
It's not that the president wants to hurt the country; it's that he believes that the best things the country has ever done have been done by government. "We do big things," he said in his State of the Union address in January. But when enumerating those things, he focused on the things government has done -- building the interstate highway system, setting up the Internet, funding education. (Oh, do we ever fund education!) And that's what he wants more of: