As Barack Obama continues to roll out his economic policy, he keeps demonstrating that he got his college degrees in lawLast week’s statement on the GDP numbers for the second quarter betrayed a lack of understanding of the data on which he was commenting.  While the damage that the recession has done slowed in Q2, Obama tried passing that off as an improving economy:

“Last week, we received a report on America’s Gross Domestic Product — a key measure of our economic’s [sic] health — and it showed marked improvement over the last few months.”

The report showed that the GDP actually decreased by an annual rate of 1% in Q2.  Now, that number isn’t as bad as Q1, but it shows that the economy got slightly worse in Q2, not that it improved — at all.  It just didn’t get worse at the same rate as it did the previous quarter.  Obama may want to take credit for slowing down the damage, but he’d be better off making that argument than trying to claim that a -1% GDP shows an improving economy.

However, Obama then went the opposite direction by making this statement in the same speech:

“As far as I’m concerned, we will not have a true recovery as long as we’re losing jobs, and we won’t rest until every American that is looking for work can find a job.”

As far as he’s concerned?  As far as anyone’s concerned, Obama can’t claim political credit for recovery while we see significant net job losses.  In 2003, while the media and the Democrats assailed George Bush for his “jobless recovery,”, the US had a net gain in jobs — just not a significant jump, only 100,000 for the year.  And if Obama is setting the bar for success as a 0% unemployment rate, he’s giving his opposition a big bat with which to beat him in 2010 and 2012.

As an economist, Obama makes a passable … lawyer.  (h/t HA reader R.S.)

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