Obama to America: The economy is improving! America to Obama: Uh … what?


I like Barack Obama, but I hate this bullshit. Today the president told workers in a Kansas City plant that the economy is improving, and Republicans need to either help or get out of the way.

I have no problem with the Republican part (Lord, is it true), but how, exactly, is the economy improving? In jobs? Nope. In spending? Nope. How? Show me numbers, Mr. President. Show me something. Anything. but it has to be real.

For some reason, people become president, then turn into gross exaggerators. Last month, the president spoke from the Oval Office and told us the Gulf of Mexico will be left cleaner than ever, post-oil spill. Know what? That’s friggin’ impossible. At best—at absolute best—the skimmers will eventually gather 30% of the oil. That leaves 70% floating around, going here, going there … forever. It won’t be eliminated, it won’t float away. It’ll just gather, and damage, and taint.

That’s the apparent truth, just as it’s true that our economy sucks, and it mired in suckage.

Do I blame this on Obama? No. Do I blame it on Bush? Largely. But it matters not. Because—fair ot not—people elect a president to get things done. And right now, we’re stuck with financial ruin and a Gulf coated in hell.

14 thoughts on “Obama to America: The economy is improving! America to Obama: Uh … what?”

  1. Jeff, I judge things on a local level.

    Looking at things from a national perspective just doesn’t make sense for a guy living in Amish country.

    Here’s what I know:

    1. The GM plant about 35 minutes away was going to cut 1200 jobs (including my uncle’s and cousin’s). They no longer are going to do that.

    2. A large manufacturing company recently reported a record quarter after having something like three years of reported losses.

    3. Car sales and homes sales are in the rise in my county and the much larger neighboring county, the one with the major city.

    4. In my town services that were cut last summer have been returned.

    5. Unemployment in my county continues to drop, as it has over the past seven or eight months.

    6. My brother is a painting contractor. Last summer he laid off a couple of workers and only kept the other because he’s married to our sister. This summer he had to add help because he was overloaded with work.

    I know these are small-scale things (except for GM and the major manufacturing plant), but to me that’s a sign things are improving.

    As a nation…there are too many variables for me to consider, but when I read the national news in my local paper it sounds like things are headed in the right direction.

    Are we moving quickly enough? Depends on which side of the aisle you sit and just how bad you think things were when Obama took office.

    Just how long does it take to repair a broken country?

    I’m not a Republican and I’m not a Democrat. In the past I have voted for each party in presidential elections, although I’ll never again vote for a Repbulican.

    But, I can see positive change. Will it continue? Who the hell knows, but I bet I can find a couple of economists, one that will give me a positive answer and the other that will give me a negative answer.

    This reminds me…I just read something about a poll on the Arizona immigration law and that most Americans supported the law.

    I’ll bet if they asked those same Americans to outline the law 99 out of 100 couldn’t even give the basic principles of the Arizona legislation. They just hear, “illegal,” and “immigrant,” and automatically support it.

    Idiot America.

  2. I was gonna comment, but SteveH did better than I ever could. I understand the frustration, Jeff, but it is a FACT that the economy is getting better. Not going gangbusters, but absolutely getting better. Moreover, it is a clear fact that the economy is in considerably better shape now than the day Obama was sworn in. Isn’t that what he was hired to do? Again, I understand the frustration from the left, but I wonder when people on our side are going to train their fire in a more focused fashion at the people who are really to blame. Because don’t look now, but the brilliant American electorate is about to considerably strengthen the other side’s hand. Obama doesn’t need to be taking fire from both sides right now. Love your body.

  3. Did Obama say, “the economy is strong and getting stronger”?
    I remember our previous president saying that as my income dropped by a third.
    At work we have hired 8 new people, I expect 3-4 will stay.
    Not a lot of people but we only have about 25 employees.
    Past month or so I have been on overtime every week.

  4. I wouldn’t so quickly agree they win, Jeff. Maybe it’s improving some places, but I just read today that unemployment for my generation — the New Generation — is up to 14 percent. And climbing.

    So maybe it’s working out well for some people. And I’ve been incredibly fortunate. But we are a long way from saying things have recovered. Or, in some cases, from even saying they are recovering.

    OK, end sad thoughts, time to go consume delicious food and drink with my beautiful wife.

  5. Anecdotal information and good news that can be applied to a tiny portion of the United States hardly speaks to the nation as a whole. The facts are evident: The United States is mired in a recession rivaling not the one in the 1970s but rather the 1930s.

    There’s no need for a blame game. But there is dramatic need for action at a national level.

  6. Greg…it is anectodal from any small town in the USA. No doubt.

    But things were much different a year ago in this small town.

    No doubt there’s a national economic crises, but I believe it’s turned for the better. And that’s based on me…my universe.

  7. Most people turn five and realize they’re not the center of the universe.

    For anyone who cares to expand his horizons, I recommend checking out the national debt clock, or the most recent employment figures. For fun, I recommend contemplating the latter considering the government has gone on a hiring spree for the census.

    Jeff had it right.

  8. I’m not down with you blaming EVERYTHING on the Republicans when they aren’t in charge of any aspect of the federal government, they haven’t controlled the Congress in four years and they certainly aren’t being listened to by the current White House. In many ways, Bush was the victim of foolish legislation that was put in place by Chris Dodd and other short-thinking Congressmen, that foolishly required banks to loan money to people that clearly couldn’t afford to pay it back.
    But I do share with you the wish that the President (Any President….Obama is hardly the first one to attempt to deceive Midwestern audience members and everyone else in the general public like this.) would quit dishing out the Pollyanna “Aren’t I doing great?” bullshit, and tell the public the truth about where things stand. All politicians should either back up their positive statements with actual facts, present some kind of positive plan for action, or shut up.

  9. Greg…I realize I’m not at the center of the universe, do you? Your comment indicates otherwise.

    I said I live in smalltown USA, that’s hardly the center of the universe….you fucking idiot.

    You cite statistics…and you know what statistics do, right smarty?

    You can find an economist to tell you anything you want to hear.

    More people I know….my brother, my uncle and my cousin…are at work today when previously their livelihoods were in jeopardy.

    No economist can change that.

    I know people that are laid off too….and they were laid off at the same time last year and the year before. It’s a slow time for the company, and it always is in summer. Those people are included in the unemployment numbers because that’s how they survive their three months off in the summer–they collect unemployment.

    Did you factor those numbers into your figures smarty?


  10. Greg, here are some headlines from today’s local paper here in the center of the universe:

    -Stocks climb for third straight day
    “The Dow Jones Industrial average rose 121 points after climbing 275 Wednesday and advancing modestly Tuesday. The 4.7 percent gain in that time is the Dow’s best three-day move since mid-May.

    -BP shares have rebounded
    “BP shares are closing in on a second straight weekly gain as the oil company gets closer to plugging a blownout well in the Gulf of Mexico. The shares have gained about 23 percent since hitting a 14-year low of $27.02 on June 25.”

    And the big one, ready for this?

    -Jobless aid requests drop
    “First-time requests for jobless aid dropped last week to their lowest level since early May.”

    So, let me get this straight, the Dow Jones is up, unemployment requests are down and BP stock is climbing, despite their troubles in the Gulf, and things aren’t improving?

    I guess I need to broaden my horizons. My little center of the universe has sheltered me.

  11. Jeff, I love your blog and since this issue sorta falls into my wheelhouse, here are some data points that Obama might back up the claim with.

    Private-sector employers have added jobs every month this year. Granted, it’s not huge growth (on average less than 100k jobs per month) but bear in mind that during the recession they cut jobs for 22 straight months, with the worst month seeing more than 800,000 private sector jobs lost.

    The stock market is up 58 percent from its bear-market low in March 2009 (it had gone up as much as 80 percent before the BP spill and worries over European government budget deficits and a possible “double dip” in the economy took some wind out.)

    Retail sales are growing again, on pace for the best year of growth since 2006.

    Weekly jobless claims peaked at about 650,000 in March 2009, but have fallen below 500,000 every month this year. (Still a high number, for sure, but better.)

    The unemployment rate does remain stubbornly high (9.7 percent versus a peak of 10 percent at the end ’09.)

    Manufacturing industries have expanded for 11 straight months (after shrinking for 18 of 20 previous months.) The way-larger portion of the economy, service industries, has shown growth for six consecutive months (after shrinking for 16 of the previous 20 months.)

    Personal consumption (basically, the total amount U.S. consumers buy) has been rising since October, albeit at a very weak rate.

    It’s true though that the economy might not necessarily “feel” like it’s improving. Perhaps that’s because after floodwaters that were 20 feet high, we’re still knee-deep in water. But the tide seems, for now, to be headed in the right direction.

  12. Name-calling? Really?

    You’ve lost your argument.

    And citing a three-day fluctuation in the stock market, an improvement in an oil company’s stock, and a reduction in unemployment requests as indication of an upward trend in the American economy is pretty sad.

  13. If Greg had a better argument than Steve, then where are your examples?

    You have none.

    The stock market has been doing nothing but climbing for the past I-don’t-even-know-how-long…

    When people like Greg, which is like everyone I know anyway, say the economy is actually bad and it’s just Obama feeding us false information…
    with the tea party
    and republican general refusal to work together
    the vindication of a so-called liberal administration
    and then turning around and saying the president has not done a good job of fixing the government…
    (i mean, how can you say that he has not done enough while calling his administration liberal?…make up your mind…you can have an opinion. but not one whose only foundation, it seems like, is to chastice the president….)

    to chastise that he has not good enough effort and that his plan is not working is ridiculous, imo
    1. economic plans are supposed to span decades…results are not supposed to be seen already, but they are…..
    2. his plans are based on professional opinion and a bogus amount of deliberation and consideration and professional advice…
    at least respect the effort in the very least.
    if you’re not happy with what he’s put out, give another plan…
    Obama’s plan, you see, is not all Democratic…it’s PRACTICAL. one word.

    The only type of plan I can see any Republican passing right now is going to be all Republican, and not practical.

    peace and logic everyone.

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