For more than three years, Barack Obama has whined about having inherited a bad economy whenever data shows the consistent stagnation wrought by his economic policies. Regardless of how bad the recession is, Obamanomics has produced the worst recovery in the post-World War II period, as the data from the Minneapolis Federal Reserve shows (see update below):
Conservatives ran out of patience a long time ago with the “I inherited a bad economy” excuse, but it’s not just conservatives who find themselves tired of Obama’s pat response. Robert Reich scolded Obama yesterday on the pages of the Huffington Post, writing that the excuse is “wearing thin” and that this is Obama’s economy:
Unemployment for June is stuck at 8.2 percent, the same as in May. And only 80,000 new jobs were added.
Remember, 125,000 news jobs are needed just to keep up with the increase in the population of Americans who need jobs. That means the jobs situation continues to worsen.
The average of 75,000 new jobs created in April, May and June contrasts sharply with the 226,000 new jobs created in January, February and March.
In Ohio yesterday, Obama reiterated that he had inherited the worst economy since the Great Depression. That’s true. But the excuse is wearing thin. It’s his economy now, and most voters don’t care what he inherited.
That isn’t the limit of criticism coming from Bill Clinton’s former Labor Secretary, either. Reich questions whether Obama actually understands the depth of the economic crisis into which he’s steered the nation, and calls his policy proposals to deal with it “miniatures” in ratio to the problems. Granted, Reich wants a policy response that would rely on government spending that would dwarf the failed 2009 Porkulus bill, but clearly Obama isn’t impressing him at all on economics.
Everyone understands just how bad the recession was. That was four years ago. The recovery began more than three years ago, and it hasn’t dented the real jobless numbers — the millions who no longer bother looking for work, the millions who have fled into disability just to keep some food on the table, and the millions of young Americans who will be joining the workforce and finding no gainful employment.
The time for whining and excuses passed a long time ago; an adept politician would have realized that after the 2010 midterm elections. If Obama plans to campaign on the “I inherited a bad economy” throughout this election, he’s not just going to lose the middle, he’s going to end up losing people like Reich, too. And that will mean someone else will inherit the Obama economy in 2013, and will do a much better job with it … and we’ll be able to stop the whining.
Update: An astute reader asked me why I left out the 1980 recession from the graph. I always skip that, because the 1981 recession was a double-dip from 1980’s, so the recovery was so brief that it’s not comparable to the others. (It’s the only true double-dip in post-WWII recessions.) Normally I explain that in a note, but I forgot to do so today.