New White House analysis: Unemployment should stay above 9% all next year

If you’ve seen this graph — and by now, all conservative blog readers have — then you know the lesson to take away from today’s news: Things could be much, much worse than the White House thinks.

And if the White House thinks things will be this bad, I’d hate to see what “much, much worse” looks like:

The Obama administration downgraded its forecast for economic growth Thursday, predicting turmoil in the economy will likely keep unemployment above 9 percent through next year’s election.

When the “substantial” economic “turbulence” of the last two months are considered, the administration expects the economy to grow as little as 1.7 percent in 2011 compared to last year. That is down from a rosier projection of 2.7 percent growth, made in February…

But even if some of Obama’s proposals make it through Congress over the expected GOP opposition, it is likely too late to revive the economy in time for the 2012 election.

Even under a better-case scenario that excludes the worsening economic picture, the Obama administration still expects 8.3 percent unemployment in 2012, with only 3.3 percent growth that year.

When the predicted worsened economy is taken into account, the White House sees anemic growth of 2.6 percent in 2012 — well below an earlier forecast of 3.6 percent.

CNN’s new poll finds 65 percent disapprove of his handling the economy. Remember, the conventional wisdom six months ago was that eight percent is the magic number on unemployment. If the rate starts trending downward and dips below that, then O’s in good shape for reelection; if not, not. Fast forward six months and the best-case scenario is now … 8.3 percent. I hate looking at this issue through the lens of horse-race politics for the same reason I hate looking at counterterrorism that way, because it reduces human suffering to a crude electoral calculation. But reality is what it is. I don’t know how he’s going to explain this to voters next summer, especially when he’s on record as saying he’d deserve only one term if he didn’t have the economy back on track in three years. Maybe the Super Committee will do good work on tax reform and that’ll goose consumer spending; maybe O’s jobs plan will surprise us and have a positive effect; or maybe we’ll continue to stagger along economically but his strategy of complaining about congressional Republicans at every opportunity will carry him to victory. If this is any indicator, though, even Democrats are heading for the lifeboats. Here’s Carney, sans life vest, trying to spin today’s data. Click the image to watch.