Imagine if a Republican or conservative U.S. president told an audience — on foreign soil, no less — that he didn't properly warn Americans about how long it would take for the economy to recover from a recession. "So-and-so Admits He Lied About the Economy" would be headlined everywhere.
At the University of the West Indies in Jamaica on Thursday, President Barack Obama essentially admitted that he knew that the economic recovery would take far longer than advertised, but chose not to tell us. There's no other way to interpret the following answer to a student's question seen in the video following the jump. But somehow, this isn't news.
Here is the video, found at Real Clear Politics:
Relevant transcript (bold is mine):
PRESIDENT OBAMA: ... So the question was, for those couldn’t hear: If I were to go back and give myself advice before I started in 2008, what would the advice be?
... I think that -- keep in mind that when I came into office we were going through the worst global financial crisis since the 1930s, and so we had to make a series of decisions very quickly, many of which were unpopular. Overall, I think we got it right. I think we did the right thing.
... But it was, I think, costly politically. And what I would have probably advised was that I might have needed to warn the American people and paint a picture for them that was more accurate about the fact that it would take some time to dig ourselves out of a very big hole. Because FDR, when he came into office, the Great Depression had already been going on for two, three years, and so people understood how serious it was. With us, we came in just as people were really starting to feel the impacts. And trying to paint a picture that we'll make it but it's going to take some time, and here are the steps that we need to take -- I think I would have advised myself to do a better job spending more time not just getting the policy right, but also describing it in ways that people understood, that gave them confidence in their own future. I think that would probably be the most important advice that I would have given myself.
Most obviously, at least for those who are looking for full-time work and wish to advance themselves financially as they engage in it, the country has yet to "dig ourselves out of a very big hole," as seen in the following two charts, the first from the government's Bureau of Labor Statistics and the second from Census Bureau alums at Sentier Research:
The first graphic shows that full-time employment, at 121.024 million, is still 851,000 shy of the November 2007 peak of 121.875 million. In a genuine, sustained recovery, that number would be at least 6 million higher, even after allowing for an aging population, considering that the adult population has increased by over 17 million during that time.
The red line in the second graphic shows that real household income is still over 4 percent below its early 2008 peak.
It's intensely annoying to watch Obama and his administration bogusly declare victory with the press's ratification as long as the two situations noted above — and several others, including historically low workforce participation, and still-historically high food stamp program participation — endure.
But Obama's misrepresentation goes far beyond merely not warning us. His own people, certainly with his permission, promised that the recovery would be quick, but that it would only occur at the desired speed if Congress passed his "stimulus" package in early 2009. He must really think we all forget the following graphic promise made by his Council of Economic Advisers about unemployment:
So Team Obama told America exactly what they thought would happen — unless Obama is now openly admitting that the graph and the promised performance of the stimulus contained therein were cold, calculated lies, and that they really knew that their policies would lead to an unemployment rate of over 10 percent, continued job losses until February 2010, and a failure to return to the prerecession full-time employment level during at least the 6-1/2 years. If we take him at his current word, we have no choice but to reach that conclusion.
The establishment press doesn't care about Obama's startling admission. A search on "Obama recovery West Indies" at Google News (not in quotes, sorted by date) surfaces only the item found at Real Clear Politics containing the video above.
Based on his Thursday report, pathetically headlined "NUTTIN' BUT LOVE FOR OBAMA IN JAMAICA," Jim Kuhnhenn at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, apparently thought that the only truly important question Obama was asked had to do with marijuana legalization.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.