Barack Obama went to Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois, this past week to re-articulate his vision for the American economy and to reassure the American people that, yes, he knows what he is doing.
The President’s prodigious political skills are always on display, even in the most challenging circumstances.
He can take dismal reality and spin a positive and optimistic picture that will inspire his supporters.
And no matter how much the facts may contradict the President's claims, his vision never changes, and he never seems to doubt that he is right.
The President reminded the audience that he first spoke there eight years ago as a new senator.
He noted the changes that have taken place. He’s now president. He now has gray hair.
But what has not changed is the inside of the man. His views have not budged an inch from those of the young senator of eight years earlier.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the current economic recovery “is one of the weakest on record, averaging 2 percent. Growth in the fourth quarter of 2012 was .4 percent. It rose to a still anemic 1.8 percent in the first quarter, but most economists are predicting even slower growth in the second quarter.”
Yet the president has no doubt that his policies are right. He ticks off the litany of big government programs that allegedly saved us from economic depression. And, with a slight nod that economic reality is not as rosy as he paints it, he concedes, “We’re not there yet.”
Perhaps it’s again worth recalling the $831 billion stimulus package in 2009 that supposedly would keep unemployment below 8 percent. As unemployment galloped past 10 percent, never was there a hint of doubt from the President that his policies were right.
We’re just “not there yet.”
Now the President tells us we have to keep big, activist government going in order to save America’s languishing middle class.
But the facts are that the middle class has fared poorly under big government.
As the Wall Street Journal reports, median household income today -- $51,761 -- remains way below where it was before the recession started -- $56,289 -- and where it was when the recession began -- $54, 218.
But perhaps most notable in the President’s remarks is what he did not say.
A magnificent economic miracle has occurred during this presidency. But the president did not find it worth mentioning because it has nothing to do with government.
Breakthroughs in technology have produced a boom in American energy production. American oil production is up 37 percent over the last two years, reversing 20 years of decline.