Former OMB Director Tells CNBC ‘There’s No Recovery’

The June jobs report was “very disappointing” for the Obama administration and to people looking for work, according to CNBC’s John Harwood. The 80,000 job gains was 20,000 short of expectations, and the unemployment rate was unchanged.

Moody’s economist Mark Zandi, who has often found a bright side to negative reports, reacted that way again saying there were “silver linings” in the report. But former Office of Management and Budget Director James Nussle strongly disagreed with those claims.


After Zandi’s said that “the recovery is intact and moving forward,” and Diane Swonk of Mesirow Financial had agreed with his sense of things.

The 2007-2009 budget director replied, “Recovery? Recovery? Seriously?” Co-host Joe Kernen prodded Nussle, “Are you saying lipstick on a pig?”

“And Obama’s in Ohio right now trying to explain this to a bunch of diners. No way!” Nussle said. “This doesn’t compute to anybody out there. There’s no recovery.” (watch video)

Later in the “Squawk Box” program Rick Santelli took a dig at the CNBC panel for not being “riled” up. “My opinion: the 80,000 fits exactly the feel of the economy and you know I wish our esteemed panel would be a little more riled over these weak numbers. Maybe they can go to Ohio and jump in that crowd and explain to the president what’s going on,” Santelli said.

When former Obama administration official Austan Goolsbee tried to make a claim that Obama was doing better than Bush had, Santelli shouted over him saying: “But less people have jobs! Who cares about Bush. You know that’s the problem Austan, you guys live in the past.”

In February, Obama claimed “the economy is growing stronger -- the recovery is speeding up.” At an April fundraiser, according to Investor’s Business Daily, Obama touted his economic record as “extraordinary progress.” By June, Obama was forced to temper those words saying, “It’s going to take time.”

John Merline at IBD pointed out on May 30, 2012, that the “recovery” hasn’t been extraordinary, “It hasn't even been ordinary.”

“In fact, it's come in well below average on several key indicators compared with the previous 10 economic recoveries, dating back to 1949, according to an IBD analysis of various economic data. And on several measures, the current recovery — which started five months after Obama took office and is now in its 35th month — is the worst on record since World War II,” Merline wrote.

He cited the 1.9 percent job growth and “far worse than average” GDP growth as well as lower income growth (still at negative 5.4 percent) and large deficits.

Julia A. Seymour
Julia A. Seymour
Julia A. Seymour is the Assistant Managing Editor for the MRC's Business and Media Institute.