Posted by: danielfee | June 20, 2011

The Obama Depression

The Obama Depression   

     Have you heard the new phrase the “Obama Depression” being injected into the political lexicon over the last week or two? It is not coming from just the loudmouths on the radio and TV, but it is also coming from the GOP leaders in the House and the Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell.. Last time I checked, the gross domestic product (GDP) for last quarter was a positive 1.6%. Not robust, but not negative. A recession is defined as two consecutive quarters of negative growth. So if we are not even in a recession, why would Republican leaders start saying we are in the “Obama Depression”? Do they know something that the rest of us don’t know? Yes; yes they do.

    What they know is that since Obama was elected, they – the Republicans in Congress – have done everything they could to slow or stop the economic recovery. For example, they were against the stimulus bill from the beginning and forced it to become smaller than it needed to be and required that one-third go towards tax cuts, just to end their filibuster. Of course they voted against it, and now that the stimulus money is running out, they are declaring it a failure. What is often overlooked in the stimulus bill is that one-third went to state and local governments to fill budget holes caused by the recession, so that they could prevent layoffs of public sector employees; teachers, cops, firefighters, etc. But now that money is running out and we are seeing that state and local governments are laying off workers at a brisk pace. This is depressing the job growth numbers, which can be seen in the last few months jobs reports. The private sector numbers have been rebounding but the public sector job losses are bringing the overall number down. What is the response of the Republicans to these job losses? As Speaker Boehner said, “if a few hundred thousand government workers lose their jobs, so be it.”

    But why would the Republicans do this? It is partly political and partly ideological. They know that if the economy has recovered from the Bush “Great Recession” by 2012, Obama will easily win re-election. But if the economy goes into a second dip recession, or in their language, the “Obama Depression”, his chances of re-election go down significantly. They know that in bad economies presidents don’t win second terms. Just ask Jimmy Carter or George H.W. Bush. Ideologically, their goal is as Grover Norquist said, “to shrink government to the size that we can drown it in the bath tub.” Therefore if government is proving itself to be effectively pulling the country out of recession, then it becomes impossible to convince the American public that government is the problem and must be dismantled.

    We were four quarters into the Bush “Great Recession” before the “lame steam media” even began mentioning the “R” word. There are very few things – actually there is only one thing – that I agree with Sara Palin on, and that is that corporate media in this country is “lame stream media”. They have become lazy and seem to believe that if they allow both sides to make their claims unchallenged or fact checked, that somehow this is balanced reporting. Joe, you say the sky is blue, but Bob says the sky is green, so I guess we will just have to leave it there. No Wolf, don’t just leave it there! Do a little investigation, apply a little journalistic integrity and tell your viewers Bob is wrong; the sky is not green. Unfortunately, the American public is going to have to do their own research because you can’t count on the “lame stream media’ to provide you with the facts.

    Back during the Bush “Great Recession”, if you were someone who spoke up and said we are in a recession you were accused of talking down the economy. But now, before there is even one quarter of negative growth, the GOP is already talking about a depression. I predict that when you see the first quarter of negative growth, which almost certainly will happen since Washington is in gridlock until 2012, the “lame stream media” will be asking the question “Are we in the Obama depression?” I will take my prediction one step further and say that it will be David Gregory of NBC who will be the first “lame streamer” to ask the question.

    Obama has been attempting to bluff his way through the economic recovery with just a pair of deuces. The Republicans are all-in, betting the American economy in the balance, with a pair of aces in the hole and they are dealing from the bottom of the deck.

    Are the Republicans trying to talk down the economy? You betcha, as Sara Palin would say. Expect to hear the term “Obama Depression” a lot more between now and November 2012

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