Christina Romer, chair of President Obama's Council of Economic Advisers, will present the Economic Report of the President today. But while the overview claims that a theme of the report is “rescuing, rebalancing, and rebuilding” the economy, it looks like it's doing none of the above. In fact, the report spends much of its time blaming Bush.
Under the headling of “Rescue,” the report makes it clear that this economic crisis was “inherited” by this administration.
Chapter 2 examines the economy that President Obama inherited and the extensive policy actions taken in the areas of financial rescue, monetary policy, housing policy, and fiscal policy. It details the impact of the actions and the challenges that remain. It also discusses future jobs initiatives.
Speaking of “inheriting,” let's look at how often that word came up in the first year of the last two presidents, using a simple Google News search for the term “inherited” combined with the last name.
For President Clinton, who won on the line, “It's the economy, stupid!” and frequently blamed the recession on his predecessor, results return 220 hits.
For President Bush, who arguably inherited a precarious national defense situation, results return 265 hits.
For Obama? 1,050 hits. More than double the previous two presidents combined.
Okay, so Bush got us into this mess, right? In fact, as the report's opener offers, it was all this unchecked speculation:
Last January, years of irresponsible risk-taking and debt-fueled speculation—unchecked by sound oversight—led to the near-collapse of our financial system.
Irresponsible risk-taking made possible by a belief that firms are too big to fail, one that big-government politicians encouraged by bailing out Bear Stearns? Debt-fueled speculation in which the debt was provided, at low interest rates, by big-government politicians? A lack of sound oversight in which the majority of defaulted mortgages were those encouraged by big-government politicians? (UPDATE: The phrase “too big to fail” appears in the report once — in the introduction's closing.)
But hand in hand with increasing our reliance on the Nation’s ingenuity is decreasing our reliance on the Nation’s credit card, as well as reining in the excess and abuse in our financial sector that led large firms to take on extraordinary risks and extraordinary liabilities.
Is increasing the debt ceiling the sort of thing that will decrease “our reliance on the Nation's credit card”? And is levying a bank tax what is necessary to ensure that firms must not grow too big to fail?
We're back to blaming Bush mere paragraphs later:
When my Administration took office, the surpluses our Nation had enjoyed at the start of the last decade had disappeared as a result of the failure to pay for two large tax cuts, two wars, and a new entitlement program. And decades of neglect of rising health care costs had put our budget on an unsustainable path.
The squandering of the 2000 surplus is an important theme for this administration, because imagine what could be done with that surplus! Or the dollars which Americans held on to rather than hand over to the federal government. And what's this complaint about the cost of a new entitlement program? Are we answering the problem of a new entitlement program by adding an even larger, more costly entitlement program?
This isn't a report, this is a rehash.