WaPo: WH trapped by its own economic rhetoric

posted at 9:30 am on July 14, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

Shed no tears over the plight of the administration, as reported by the Washington Post’s Michael Shear this morning.  The nation’s rising frustration on the economy has left the Obama White House reluctant to brag about its accomplishments, Shear reports, and that has its allies on Capitol Hill angry.  The problem is that the “accomplishments” Shear cites are nothing but spin, and both the public and the White House know it:

That sense of frustration among voters has developed despite what White House officials see as a series of successes in the last year and a half: health care reform, Wall Street reform (perhaps to be passed Thursday), and an economic turnaround that has turned staggering monthly job losses into modest monthly job gains.

Republicans, who are hoping to seize control of Congress, point to unemployment numbers that remain near 10 percent, not the 8 percent that White House officials predicted. And they say the public is fed up with the nation’s soaring debt, which the GOP blames on Obama and the Democrats in Congress.

Either way, West Wing officials like Gibbs are trapped now. The more they talk about their economic and legislative successes, the more danger there is that they seem out of touch with the public’s sense of frustration.

And yet, without touting the president’s victories, they leave their allies in Congress at the mercy of an increasingly sour public mood.

The real problem is with the way the White House argues about the jobs numbers.  I’ve repeatedly pointed out that job losses are cumulative, and that “modest” job growth 18 months out doesn’t negate the massive job losses from earlier.  The White House pitched its massive Porkulus plan as a means to keep unemployment below 8%, and that without spending almost a trillion dollars of money we didn’t have in the first place, it might go as high as 10%.  In fact, the jobs situation got worse, and shows no sign of improving, as these charts, which I have displayed before, note.  First, let’s look at total employment over the last 30 months, with the red star showing the passage of Porkulus (numbers in thousands, data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics):

And now let’s look at the percentage of the civilian population participating in the workforce, from which unemployment numbers derive:

Both of these charts show the bad news that Americans are experiencing first-hand, and that White House spin simply fails to explain.  There are fewer jobs and more people out of work, and the problem is getting worse instead of improving.  Talking about “modest job growth” ignores the impact of population growth, but even less technically, ignores the fact that the US has lost millions of jobs while the White House touts the creation of a handful as some sort of victory.

The latest dodge in this area is to claim that Porkulus avoided a depression, but that’s a three-card Monty argument, as I wrote over the weekend.  Obama sold Porkulus as a way to limit job losses, which it has obviously failed to do, as seen above.  The Depression-saving argument refers to TARP, not Porkulus, and that’s still debatable.  Most of the TARP decisions came before Obama took office, except for his decision to bail out the automakers with it — and then interfere with the legal bankruptcy process to favor the unions over the senior creditors.

If the White House has trouble selling its economic “victories,” it’s because it has no real inventory to sell.


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This, I suspect, will be the point when he starts his “civilian military” that he discusses during the campaign.

clnurnberg on July 14, 2010 at 9:33 AM

That civilian “security force” that will be just as well funded and just as strong. Scary then, it would be scarier now.

clnurnberg on July 14, 2010 at 9:35 AM

If the White House has trouble selling its economic “victories,” it’s because it has no real inventory to sell.

I wonder how many trolls read this and there heads exploded…BAM!

SHARPTOOTH on July 14, 2010 at 9:36 AM

WH to America: Don’t forget how good of a job we did in shoving that HCR bill down your collective throat!

artist on July 14, 2010 at 9:37 AM

The other point about jobs is that the porkulus only really created government jobs, not private sector jobs. Now if you’re a taxpayer, more governement jobs just means more mouths for you to feed. It’s NOT a good thing.

PackerBronco on July 14, 2010 at 9:40 AM

I say keep on spinning dear leader…it will be much sweeter come 2012

cmsinaz on July 14, 2010 at 9:40 AM

Peter Ferrara over at Spectator.org describes this ObaMao spin as snake oil and Grecian formula. The only sector growing in “jobs” are those in government.

onlineanalyst on July 14, 2010 at 9:42 AM

That is scary, The New Black Panthers Jobs Program — Doing the Jobs others won’t do ..

wheels on July 14, 2010 at 9:43 AM

It’s a depression, Americans know it, and they know this Administration is almost literally fiddling while Rome is burning. Obama came in with an agenda of health care, cap-and-trade, and financial regulation, with a dollop of international capitulation and appeasement. The depression is nothing but a big distraction to him and he has nothing in his bag of tricks that has anything to do with jobs.

Real leaders take on the challenges that are handed to them and discard their preferred agenda if circumstances demand it. Obama refused to do that. He is going to pay a price for his arrogance.

rockmom on July 14, 2010 at 9:43 AM

What happened to the Recovery Summer Tour? Reality.

mjbrooks3 on July 14, 2010 at 9:45 AM

You are counting on the same populace that voted for “hope and change” to understand what’s changed.

katablog.com on July 14, 2010 at 9:45 AM

Perfect time for a vacay.

txag92 on July 14, 2010 at 9:46 AM

Hoist by its own petard and skewered by its own sharp rhetoric; watch this administration implode. Sweet!

College Prof on July 14, 2010 at 9:47 AM

his “civilian military”

Oh cr*p! Does that mean you’ve figured out Dear Leader’s new immigration policy? It’s not suppose to be exposed yet!

katablog.com on July 14, 2010 at 9:47 AM

What happened to the Recovery Summer Tour? Reality.

mjbrooks3 on July 14, 2010 at 9:45 AM

It was renamed to the “Magical Mystery Tour”.

Electrongod on July 14, 2010 at 9:49 AM

Did all the libs at HotAir get the banhammer? I enjoyed reading their pearls of wisdom about the Obama Recovery.

WashJeff on July 14, 2010 at 9:51 AM

That’s the problem with lies….eventually the truth comes out.

search4truth on July 14, 2010 at 9:53 AM

The truth won’t be coming out of the WH until they admit their grand experiment has failed completely. It’s be less likely than a Taliban-card-carrying Muslim renouncing his faith and turning Pentecostal.

AubieJon on July 14, 2010 at 9:53 AM

NEWS FLASH: Just heard Obama’s new campaign slogan for 2012. Shhhhh, don’t tell.

We changed your hope!

katablog.com on July 14, 2010 at 9:54 AM

We desperately need some trolls and professional students (College Professors) to come to Pinnochios’ aid in this thread I’m puttin out the troll call:
Palin, Palin, Palin, Palin, Palin, Palin, Palin, Palin!

There that otta get a few of em riled up and

Postin For Pinnochio!

dhunter on July 14, 2010 at 9:55 AM

The more they talk about their economic and legislative successes, the more danger there is that they seem out of touch with the public’s sense of frustration.

This is pretty simple to sort out. Most of the public does not consider the Regime’s “successes” to be successes. And we didn’t wait until history proved them to be failures. We were publicly against them before they crammed them down our throats.

They should have listened instead of proceeding either the bad ideas.

Can’t say they weren’t warned. Heck, I have an old letter saved on my computer that told Arlen Specter exactly what the stimulus would and wouldn’t do. Lot’s of other people do too. We were right.

forest on July 14, 2010 at 9:56 AM

I expect those numbers are about to get worse also. The main census finished up about the same time as the last date on the chart, and I know at least in my area, they laid off 3/4 of the force, keeping just around 1/4 for follow up work. That is thousands more people out of work again.

coyoterex on July 14, 2010 at 9:59 AM

If the White House has trouble selling its economic “victories,” it’s because it has no real inventory to sell.

What, you don’t think Americans are buying the “created or saved 3.5 million jobs” victory??

/s

scalleywag on July 14, 2010 at 9:59 AM

job losses are cumulative, and that “modest” job growth 18 months out doesn’t negate the massive job losses from earlier.

..Exactly

On top of that, the White House has already come out and stated that a lot of those jobs are not coming back..(cue Joe Biden).

The fact that the American public are seeing that “Hope and Change” is a bust, is only making it harder for Obama and his allies in the MSM to to sell crazy here….

…….in November….they are going to be told to go sell it somewhere else.

Baxter Greene on July 14, 2010 at 10:04 AM

Looks like Rush and Sarah need awards for the most accurate economics forecasts.

Obama shafted more of his voters, minorities and young voters have the most outrageous unemployment.

seven on July 14, 2010 at 10:05 AM

Just wait till those Bush Tax cuts expire at the end of the year and everyone finds out that those cuts didn’t just help the “rich”. 10% unemployment will look good then.. *facepalm*

Dire Straits on July 14, 2010 at 10:05 AM

Ed, you need to add a blue star to your chart for when Obama was elected in Nov ’08. Unemployment took off then. Similarly, when Queen Nan took the gavel is when the spending went on turbo charge.

lizzie beth on July 14, 2010 at 10:07 AM

..trapped? More like the Stockholm Syndrome. And the crap-fest is only beginning. Let’s see how they handle this..

The War Planner on July 14, 2010 at 10:11 AM

Isn’t the New Black Panther Party his first wave of brown-shirt jackboot civilian militia? It would explain the preferential treatment they get.

MarkT on July 14, 2010 at 10:13 AM

Lizzie beth: great idea…give a better perspective of dem control.

cmsinaz on July 14, 2010 at 10:16 AM

Obama: Why did this have to happen to me? I just wanted to come in and be the anti-Bush and golf and have parties. Economic crisis’ are HARD.

*bites pillow*

oddjob1138 on July 14, 2010 at 10:19 AM

The War Planner on July 14, 2010 at 10:11 AM

If the pubs wanted to score some points they would be hollering about how the dems are favoring the rich with these new taxes. After all the highest bracket only suffers about a 12% tax increase while the lowest bracket suffers a 50% tax increase.

chemman on July 14, 2010 at 10:20 AM

Ah..I see the error they are making.

The charts are simply upside down. Flip them over and voila`! Victory!

BobMbx on July 14, 2010 at 10:20 AM

Liberals believe Obama averted another Great Depression. It doesn’t matter what the numbers are on anything because they will always believe that no matter how bad it gets, it would have been much worse if not for Obama.

They don’t know the difference between TARP and stimulus and they don’t care.

The 2010 and 2012 elections hinge on enough people getting out there to out vote the idiots who will vote D because the thought of voting R would make their heads explode.

Jaynie59 on July 14, 2010 at 10:21 AM

The other point about jobs is that the porkulus only really created government jobs, not private sector jobs. Now if you’re a taxpayer, more governement jobs just means more mouths for you to feed. It’s NOT a good thing.

PackerBronco on July 14, 2010 at 9:40 AM

Well put. While some gov’t jobs are essential, only private sector jobs create wealth.

cartooner on July 14, 2010 at 10:22 AM

Did all the libs at HotAir get the banhammer? I enjoyed reading their pearls of wisdom about the Obama Recovery.

WashJeff on July 14, 2010 at 9:51 AM

Hopefully, their dear leader will follow their example and just shut up.

BobMbx on July 14, 2010 at 10:23 AM

Government employees:

Welfare recipients who have jobs.

BobMbx on July 14, 2010 at 10:23 AM

I think we’d be just where we are if the stimulus hadn’t passed, but without the crazy debt.

Lots of companies cut to the bone in 2008-2009 and after a few months, realized they needed to hire back some of the people (either directly or through temp agencies) to get work done. That had nothing to do with the stimulus.

LASue on July 14, 2010 at 10:28 AM

Did all the libs at HotAir get the banhammer? I enjoyed reading their pearls of wisdom about the Obama Recovery.

WashJeff on July 14, 2010 at 9:51 AM

I think there are still plenty here Jeff, but their silence (on Obama’s disasterous agenda and his outright defiance of the public’s concern for spending), is a testimony that Obama’s 2008 campaign promises were nothing but a pack of lies.

In this case, their silence is certainly golden.

Rovin on July 14, 2010 at 10:34 AM

Obama: Why did this have to happen to me? I just wanted to come in and be the anti-Bush and golf and have parties. Economic crisis’ are HARD.

*bites pillow* *sucks thumb*

oddjob1138 on July 14, 2010 at 10:19 AM

FIFY.

GrannyDee on July 14, 2010 at 10:45 AM

I just want to know when this nightmare will end and how fast President Palin can help us recover…

CCRWM on July 14, 2010 at 10:45 AM

Barry, Pelosi and Reid have been living in a fantasy world for the last 18 months. Reality is a bitch called November elections.

GarandFan on July 14, 2010 at 10:47 AM

Did all the libs at HotAir get the banhammer? I enjoyed reading their pearls of wisdom about the Obama Recovery.

WashJeff on July 14, 2010 at 9:51 AM

It’s still a little early in the day for them. ;)

lizzie beth on July 14, 2010 at 10:50 AM

This, I suspect, will be the point when he starts his “civilian military” that he discusses during the campaign.

clnurnberg on July 14, 2010 at 9:33 AM

Would that be the New Black Panther Party?

scullymj on July 14, 2010 at 10:58 AM

If this is success I hate to think what failure would be…..wait… maybe I would like some failure.

jukin on July 14, 2010 at 11:05 AM

We heard Biden talking about Obama’s top priority about the three-letter word J-O-B-S, and they spent $800 billion on Porkulus and less than 5% of that on infrastructure. Then they used taxpayer money to buy GM and Chrysler and bail out union pension funds–how does taxing us to pay retired people create jobs, while Ford is making profits??? Then they spent nearly a year jamming through a health-care bill opposed by a majority of Americans–where are the jobs from that??? Then comes the oil spill, and Obama can’t hire oil skimmers and dredges to prevent the oil from reaching the beaches, but he’ll put the kibosh on the whole oil-drilling industry and send tens of thousands of American jobs to the east coast of Brazil, where they know the meaning of “drill, baby, drill”.

How many jobs did we get for our trillion-dollar deficits, Mr. President?

A good, targeted tax cut could have created LOTS of jobs. Just read some history books, and look up Reagan, Ronald or Kennedy, John Fitzgerald.

Steve Z on July 14, 2010 at 11:09 AM

Oh the Obama administration does have its accomplishments—even destruction is an accomplishment. And Obama has delivered on “hope” and “change”. Daily, I “hope” that he and his minions are tossed from office as I witness the “change” from capitalism and self-sufficiency to socialism and dependency.

texabama on July 14, 2010 at 11:21 AM

Excellent analysis, Captain Ed. Thank you. As usual, no on in the administration seems to be watching the economic situation.

One gentle reminder – I believe the preferred spelling for Three Card Monte throwers is with an ‘e’ not a ‘y.’ But, you are quite right – in spite of the hoard of tailors pretending to be economists surrounding him, the Emperor keeps giving us the Full Monty.

Keep up the good work. We will read, listen, and VOTE in November.

Orson Buggeigh on July 14, 2010 at 11:37 AM

I think also a big part of the failure to deliver their message is that they can’t seem to do it without spitting on the Bush administration.

It doesn’t take too much of that before people start mumbling “yea, yea, yea. whaaatever.”

kurtzz3 on July 14, 2010 at 11:45 AM

I think it’s cute how they try to list Obamacare as an accomplishment to the American public. They seem to forget that nobody wanted it, so it’s not exactly a plus.

tom on July 14, 2010 at 12:21 PM

Here is Obama’s new “national force” to “protect” our borders and secure proper voting.
Logo

right2bright on July 14, 2010 at 12:27 PM

Was using a red star to mark the start of the Obama Presidency an admission, or a Feudian slip?

drunyan8315 on July 14, 2010 at 1:04 PM

Has any one noticed that the decline begins with the probablity of Obama winning the democratic primary, steepens more as it appears he will win the presidential election and again more after he does?

It could be argued that it began under Bush. One reason was the fact that when a war ends or winds down there is almost always a short recession. This appears to be what Obama and his administration thought was occuring and that it was going to rebound and he could claim it as the result of his polices and stimulus. Of course driving this recession was the housing bubble, the social engineering project of the democrates that Bush warned them was going to be a problem, and of course, the too big to fail investment banks that took advantage of the all but certian failure. Those factors deepened the problem and the Obama administration compounded the problem with the typical socialist approach to problems; throw money at it and the problem will work itself out. What Bush did not do was create the job problem we have today. Obama did that on his own.

Unlike the Obama Administration that operates like a small local business we see every day that open and are closed in less than a year because of poor planning or ecomomic down turns, investors plan for a return on the investment with a clear understanding how that will happen. A good example of planning would be putting a bowling lane into our community. We had a lot of people wanting the lanes, even the donated equiptment, the furture taxes were worked out, but it was turned down because investment democgraphics showed we did not have enough rental units needed to insure it would be successful. That is how investment on the large scale works and it that type of investment that creates the large employers that in turn support the small businesses used by the employees. Unlike Obama, investors have to understand all the factors and in Obama’s case with his socialist agenda, they had plenty of reason to withdraw to see what he was going do and how it would impact them. They could no longer plan because of his stated goals of wealth redistribution that would take away their investment capital, cost of operations as a result of new taxes and increases in the cost of energy and potential cap and trade law, and health care demands; all of which meant they no longer could predict the cost factors that would insure a return on the investment. Obama clearly does not understand that concept or why investors are holding onto (his) their investment capital.

Franklyn on July 14, 2010 at 1:49 PM

If the White House has trouble selling its economic “victories,” it’s because it has no real inventory to sell.

I’d like to add to that and say….they also have no one to blame but themselves.

The blame Bush mantra, is getting really old here….and didn’t Obama say he had all the answers to solve this problem? How many strikes will this boob get, before he’s called out?

capejasmine on July 14, 2010 at 2:18 PM

If the White House has trouble selling its economic “victories,” it’s because it has no real inventory to sell.

maybe this fact is being echoed in more ways than one, Ed. As JE Dyer showed on the 11th.

ted c on July 14, 2010 at 2:57 PM

But the only reason unemployment is up is because people are lazy and taking unemployment checks instead. Therefore, it’s not Obama’s fault. He can’t help it if all those lazy lowlifes filing for unemployment won’t take jobs. The man’s a victim! A victim of the lazy American people!

Of course, that’s moronic but it’s what several people have posted right here on HotAir. Ed is absolutely, 100% correct here to keep the focus on the people who are actually to blame for high unemployment and the crippled economy – the bungling, arrogant scumbag Democrats in Congress and, especially, in the White House.

Django on July 14, 2010 at 3:45 PM

While there are many in the WaPo piece, this one was the biggest howler of all:

… modest monthly job gains

ya2daup on July 14, 2010 at 4:13 PM

Dire Straits on July 14, 2010 at 10:05 AM

Ha! Errrrrrrrrrrrrr wrong!
Percentage of unemployed is based on those collecting unemployment benefits.
As unemployment benefits run out the “official” Percentage of unemployed drops.

Notice how Reid and Pelosi won’t even consider extending unemployment benefits?
This ensures come November the unemployment rolls will be down by 3 to 7 million people.

The official Percentage of unemployed will be under 8%, Obama and the Dems will wave this as a flag of victory!

The MSM (Obama’s Kneepad Brigade) will report it as a victory till the day after the election, when they discover that unemployment hasn’t gone down.

Somehow this will be blamed on Palin, Bush or the GOP.

/s?

DSchoen on July 14, 2010 at 6:34 PM

If lying to us repeatedly, destroying our health care, and stealing every last free dime we have in order to pay off their cronies are “accomplishments,” I’m sure glad they aren’t into admitting “failures!”

n0doz on July 14, 2010 at 7:22 PM