Archive for Saturday, November 7, 2009

Obama finding it harder to blame Bush for job woes

November 7, 2009


President Barack Obama casts a shadow on the wall as he walks to the podium to speak Friday in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington.

President Barack Obama casts a shadow on the wall as he walks to the podium to speak Friday in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington.

— For months he had warned it was coming, but that didn’t ease the political shockwaves for President Barack Obama when unemployment topped 10 percent.

A year after his election, Obama finds it increasingly difficult to blame the sour economy on George W. Bush or offer reassurances that jobless Americans will soon find work.

Never mind that the economy itself grew in the last quarter, that the recession, as measured by the precise formulas used by economists, is over and that the number of jobs lost in October was less than one-third the number of job losses at the start of his presidency.

Those claims about the recession’s end do not convince most people, who remain painfully aware of the unemployment rate.

‘I won’t let up’

At 10.2 percent, October unemployment climbed to chart-topping heights unseen in more than a quarter century. The bottom line is that more than 15 million Americans are out of work and 3.5 million lost their jobs while Obama was president. Expected or not, this is Obama’s new reality.

“I won’t let up until the Americans who want to find work can find work, and until all Americans can earn enough to raise their families and keep their businesses open,” the president declared Friday.

That’s a hopeful promise but not very realistic.

And it shows that, for the time being, action to tackle record budget deficits will simply have to wait.

Obama, appearing at the White House Rose Garden on Friday three hours after the jobless numbers were made public, said his administration was looking at additional spending for roads and bridges and energy efficient buildings. Additional tax cuts for businesses and steps to increase credit for small businesses were also on the bill.

The new unemployment rate also came on the same day Obama signed a $24 billion bill to extend jobless benefits and spur homebuying

In a sign of Democratic thinking, Rep. Carolyn Maloney, who heads Congress’s Joint Economic committee, said Democrats would consider new aid to states, an “infrastructure bank” to increase construction jobs and small business tax credits.

“I think we’re witnessing a political renaissance about concerns about jobs,” Lawrence Mishel, president of the labor-leaning Economic Policy Institute, said approvingly. “It will put the deficit concerns into their appropriate context.”

What all this amounts to is another stimulus for the economy. Though don’t look for Democrats to call it that; Democrats have a tough enough time debating the merits of the $787 billion stimulus Congress passed earlier this year.

Republicans were quick to pounce on the proposals. Internal polling by the Republican National Committee after Republican gubernatorial victories in New Jersey and Virginia showed that Republican candidates could do well by arguing against additional spending while promoting job growth through tax cutting alone.

Facing consequences?

But in rhetoric and in deed, Obama is being forced to address an unemployment picture his economic team had long ago expected to avoid.

Many economists predict the jobless rate will rise again, peaking at 10.5 percent sometime next year before employment makes a turnaround in the spring. That still means unemployment will remain high for some time. The administration’s own projections still see unemployment at 8 percent by the end of 2011.

Such lingering discomfort can have economic and political consequences.

Consumer spending likely won’t increase rapidly. Foreclosures will continue to rise, hitting not just subprime borrowers, but prime mortgage holders as well. Commercial real estate lending, already teetering, could plunge in the face of rising vacancy and loan delinquency rates.

Politically, Democrats are staring at some damage — and the fear of unemployment — themselves. Exit polls Tuesday in the New Jersey and Virginia GOP victories showed that the economy was the top issue in the minds of voters. And national public opinion surveys show that a majority of the public doesn’t believe Obama’s economic policies are working.

Couple that with traditional losses by the president’s party during midterm elections and Democrats have cause to worry about their own fate.


Richard Heckler 8 years, 5 months ago

The entire economy is in turmoil due to Washington D.C. fraudulent activities in which some big name people likely should be headed for prison as yet are not.

Shouldn't the republican party be in prison as an accomplice for failing to control THEIR party members? How can anyone vote republican ever again? Beginning in 1980 to present wrecking the USA economy and robbing financial institutions seems to have been well organized.

Why don't the USA citizens rise up and demand investigations and prision sentences instead of buying into the concept of " we must move forward" and not dwell on the past?

Why should big name politicians never be prosecuted yet a local bank robber goes to jail for years? The local bank robber did not wreck peoples retirement funds or put millions of USA citizens out of jobs?

What are the priorities of USA citizens? Why do allow elected officials to talk we the citizens out of prosecuting appointed and elected officials?

Below is a well established pattern of events. People should be investigated,indicted,prosecuted and sent to prison.

Isn't it odd each time our nations financial institutions crumble there are Bush family near by and a McCain still in office?

Who has history with financial institutions going south such as the savings and loan scandal? Republicans!

About the Bush/Cheney/Greenspan/Bernake fraudulent home loan scandal:

About the Bush/Reagan Home Loan Scandal(home loans)

McCain: The Most Reprehensible of the Keating Five. The story of "the Keating Five" has become a scandal rivaling Teapot Dome and Watergate ...

Shouldn't the republican party be in prison as an accomplice for failing to control THEIR party members? How can anyone vote republican ever again? Beginning in 1980 to present wrecking the USA economy and robbing financial institutions seems to have been well organized.

pace 8 years, 5 months ago

I thought Nixon should of gone to prison, instead pardoned and "rehabilitated" states person. I think Bush/Cheney and co should go to prison and pay restitution for their service to our country. Some o

Richard Heckler 8 years, 5 months ago

The republican party are masters at putting millions upon millions upon millions of people out of work.

All they do with a remarkable degree of consistency is wreck the economy,initiate huge movements of shipping jobs abroad aka the Reagan-Bush Global Economy and try to wreck social security and medicare.

Is there a definite pattern? Absolutely!

  1. The Reagan/ Bush Home Loan Scandal

  2. The Bush/Cheney Home Loan Scandal

  3. What did Bush and Henry Paulson do with the bail out money?

  4. Why did GW Bush Lie About Social Security?( This would cost taxpayers $4 trillion and wreck the economy)

Flap Doodle 8 years, 5 months ago

The obamabots, however, are still stuck in the past.

Godot 8 years, 5 months ago

As good ole Joe Biden said of Obama's economic strategy, "We guessed wrong."

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 5 months ago

Bush is certainly the worst president in modern history (and we've had some really bad ones,) and as such, deserves much blame for the current economic mess-- a mess that will take many years to clean up.

However, Obama so far isn't doing much but shoring up the house of cards that Bush almost collapsed.

Godot 8 years, 5 months ago

3) What did Bush and Henry Paulson do with the bailout money? They left it there in a big pile for Obama to dole out to his bankster buddies at Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan, and to the unions, with Timothy Geithner, the architect of the TARP when he was Chairman of the NY Fed and responsible for non-regulation of AIG, GS, Bear Stearn, Merril, etc, in charge as Secretary of the Treasury.

Flap Doodle 8 years, 5 months ago

Don't worry, later today Axelrod's puppet is going to announce that 1 billion American jobs have been saved or created in the last 11 months. Have a big drink of soma and don't worry.......

BigPrune 8 years, 5 months ago

Jimmy Carter was by far the worst President.................before Obama.

Rex Russell 8 years, 5 months ago

Jimmy Carter was an ineffective president. I'd give him about a C. He was a much better ex-president and world humanitarian. Nixon was an egotistic, paranoid, mess. His actions and attitude were criminal. Nixon ranks well,well below Carter. Clinton's tenure was fine until he screwed it up in the end. Not a failure, but more of an asterisk. But if you clump together the Congress of 2000-08 and the 8 Bush years, that was the worst presidency in modern history. Obama gets an incomplete at this time.

Mixolydian 8 years, 5 months ago

LBJ was the worst in last 60 years hands down. Escalated Vietnam, soured the economy with his "war" on poverty, indentured millions to a welfare state.

The only smart thing he ever did was not run in 68.

The worst In order are: 1. LBJ 2. Carter 3. GWB 4. GHWB

The best: 1. Reagan 2. Kennedy 3. Clinton 4. Nixon. (Watergate aside, he was an effective president)

kugrad 8 years, 5 months ago

He is finding it harder only because Americans are so stupid.

He hasn't actually been blaming Bush though, for most educated Americans who paid any attention can see that there is more than enough blame to go around for this recession; which is the ultimate cause of the jobs problem. The blame starts with the Reagan (and even Carter) administrations and the deregulation craze, then continues through George H. Bush, Bill Clinton, and all the congresses that went with them. Finally to George W. Bush, who was not strong on economics, and the woes continue today. It would be 100% disingenous to actually blame Obama for an inhereited problem that has followed all predictions made prior to his presidency (the most recent example would be the 10%+ unemployment which was anticipated by economists over a year ago and was no surprise to anyone). This is the biggest recession of the post-war era. It took years to create and only a FOOL would think it could be solved quickly by short-term policies. Obama does not believe that. More blame, and a lot of it, needs to go to state governments and their exessessive zeal to cut taxes and services. This has reduced not only jobs, but supports that keep people employed. It reduced the effectiveness of all stimulus attempts, including those in the Bush administration, but surreptitiously passing tax burdens from State governments to local governments. Now local taxes are out of control, and state taxes are relatively low, enter a recession and revenues are now inadequate.

Yes, there is blame out the Wazoo, but Obama is not the root cause of this problem and there is not a genuine coalition in washington trying to solve it. I am a member of neither party, but I think a fair case could be made that, in the last decade, the Republican party has been far more obstructionist in terms of preventing progress on issues that affect the economy. In other words, the Dems let the republicans try it their way. It didn't work. Then there was brief agreement on the stimulus, which mysteriously evaportated when the Rep's lost the election and suddently became opposed to the exact stimulus packages they approved of months before. Now the Reps don't want to let the Dem's try a different strategy on the fear that it might actually work. Now who isn't putting America first?

There is a compound word for what is happening with our congress, the real people who deserve the most blame, and the first word is cluster.

puddleglum 8 years, 5 months ago

don't worry Obamarama... I don't have any trouble blaming bush for 8 of the worst years this country has ever seen.

bush/cheney ruined this country.

yankeevet 8 years, 5 months ago

Jefferson Davis wasnt much better.............

Godot 8 years, 5 months ago

"The two arguments against the central bank acting as a quasi-fiscal agent are, first, that acting as a quasi-fiscal agent may impair the central bank’s ability to fulfil its macroeconomic stability mandate and, second, that it obscures responsibility and impedes accountability for what are in substance fiscal transfers. In the US such actions subvert the Constitution, which clearly states in Section 8, Clause 1, that the power to tax and spend rests with the Congress: “The Congress shall have Power to lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States.”.

If, as happened in the USA on a vast scale, the central bank allows itself to be used as an off-budget and off-balance-sheet special purpose vehicle of the Treasury, and refuses to provide to the Congress some of the information essential for the quantification of the fiscal transfers it has made, the central bank not only subverts the constitution. By attempting to hide contingent commitments and to disguise de-facto subsidies by not divulging relevant information on the terms on which the central bank has offered financial assistance, it undermines its own independence and legitimacy and impairs political accountability for the use of public funds - ‘tax payers’ money’. It is surprising that a country whose creation folklore attributes considerable significance to the principle of ‘no taxation without representation’ would have condoned without much outcry such a blatant violation of the equally important principle of ‘no use of public funds without accountability’. This indeed amounts to a quiet usurpation of the power of the legislature by the central bank." ----Willem Buiter

Bush demanded and got The Patriot Act. Bush went along with Pelosi and Reid and did not veto TARP. He set the stage for Obama. Under Obama's leadership, The Treasury and the Fed are actively subverting our constitution. Power that belongs to the Legislative branch has been usurped by the Executive. That makes Bush, followed by Obama, the worst two presidents in the history of our country. Problem is that Obama has only just begun....

jayhawklawrence 8 years, 5 months ago

Funny how the Repubs think they have the answers when they have just as much blame as the Dems. In fact, they have more blame now because they worked hard to chop block the recovery.

I wish we could throw them all down a well and start with all new people but we can't. I am making a personal commitment to get rid of every old fart currently in politics. I hope other Americans can make that same commitment in time for the next election.

We have to find people who understand that we have to rebuild our manufacturing base in this country or we are going to lose everything.

jayhawklawrence 8 years, 5 months ago

As long as these upper crusty alums of the wall street crowd are running our government, we are doomed. They only know how to suck blood and screw the rest of us.

We are looking at a fertile ground for a populist political party rising from the ashes that will make Obama look like a conservative. I think that is something we should fear if this economy does not get moving on jobs.

Recycling old farts like Gingrich is not going to cut it with the American people anymore than the compromises we see on Capital Hill. We only have to look at our rising health, insurance and credit card rates to see who are political leaders are working for.

jayhawklawrence 8 years, 5 months ago

My last comment is on the global economy. The government and big corporations are making the rules on the global economy. Those rules are not favoring the American people.

Remember what Ross Perot said about that giant sucking sound. He was absolutely right.

Not electable, but right.

We have been sold out folks. Wake up.

jayhawklawrence 8 years, 5 months ago

Dolph Simons seems to think that supporting every Republican Conservative candidate is going to answer all of our problems.

I think nothing angers the average American more than that attitude.

You cannot fix a problem with another problem Dolph.

Kirk Larson 8 years, 5 months ago

Republicans get in office and ruin everything. Democrats get in and try to fix things. Republicans complain about stuff they ruined. Say their same old policies will fix things, Republicans get in office and ruin everything.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

jayhawklawrence 8 years, 5 months ago

Tom. For once I almost agree with everything you just wrote. Maybe 90%.

There is hope in the world.

Flap Doodle 8 years, 5 months ago

What does an NYT columnist say? "This is now Obama’s crisis, and it carries political consequences. During Tuesday’s gubernatorial races in New Jersey and Virginia, nearly 9 in 10 voters said that they were worried about the direction of the nation’s economy in the next year. And the majority of those who held that view voted for the Republican candidates. This could portend a flashback to 1994.

It isn’t President Obama’s fault that he inherited this mess, but it is his to fix, and he must make haste. To paraphrase his Toledo prelection: you need to do it not five years from now, not next year, you need to do it right now. J-O-B-S. "

Richard Heckler 8 years, 5 months ago

JAMES STEELE: Treasury had no internal controls at the beginning of this whole process. They basically were just throwing the money out.

The beginning banks, the first nine, the big banks, they all got their money one day after a meeting with Henry Paulson, in which he told them, “You’re taking this money.” But after that, the process was much more convoluted. And some banks lobbied for the money. Others banks didn’t lobby for the money but were told they were taking it. It all—what we basically concluded early on, that there was really no plan to this at all. While Treasury said that the purpose was to get credit flowing back into the system, the fact of the matter is, the way they went about this made no sense at all.

JUAN GONZALEZ: Well, what about that big meeting that you talk about—I think it was October 12th—the nine big banks? Eight of those banks, as you reported, ended up getting two-thirds of all of the money, 67 percent. How did that meeting come about, and who was there?

JAMES STEELE: Paulson actually called that meeting. He called the heads of those banks the night before and said, “I want you here tomorrow in Washington.” He was very vague as to what the purpose of the meeting was. But once they got there, he told them, “You are taking money. We are going to buy stock in your banks. And we need to get this economy going again.” Some bankers objected, saying by accepting this money it would look like they were weak. Others simply said they didn’t need it.

The fact of the matter is, one of the things we concluded very early on in this whole process is that while Treasury was trying to create the image that there was widespread weakness in these banks—and then there was a credit freeze, there’s no doubt about that—the way they went about this, just throwing the money out there in hopes that that would get the economy going, is not really what this was all about. There were just a handful of institutions that were terribly weakened. AIG the insurer, Bank of America, Citigroup, those three were clearly in very weakened form. So, many of the other big banks were not. And the best example that they didn’t need this money in the beginning was that many of them, within just a very few months, paid everything back.

AMY GOODMAN: Don Barlett, this meeting of the big nine, with Vikram Pandit of Citigroup, Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase, Kenneth Lewis of Bank of America, Richard Kovacevich of Wells Fargo, John Thain of Merrill Lynch, John Mack of Morgan Stanley, Lloyd Blankfein, who succeeded Paulson as head of Goldman Sachs, Robert Kelly of the Bank of New York Mellon and Ronald Logue of State Street Bank, went to the secretary’s conference room. It was even difficult to find this information out. But what did he lay out for them there? And how does Paulson, who was former head of one of these banks, fit into it, as well?

Richard Heckler 8 years, 5 months ago


DONALD BARLETT: Well, reduced to its simplest terms, he laid in front of them, each of them, a sheet of paper and saying, “Write on this the amount of money you’re going to take, and you are going to take it. Otherwise,” the implication was, “regulators will be looking at you and finding something wrong there. This is one of those areas in which you have no choice. By the end of the day, you will sign that you’re taking this amount of money. You know, call your boards, do whatever you need to do, but you will take the money.”

JAMES STEELE: Amy, this is one of the most astonishing things to us as part of this whole investigation. Here you have these people signing by hand their names, the date of the meeting, and filling in with a felt-tip pen how much money they wanted: $25 billion in one case, $15 billion in another, $10 billion. A one-page piece of paper. Wouldn’t we all like that the next time we take out a mortgage or a car loan or anything like that?

JUAN GONZALEZ: Well, you also mentioned that when the government got to then dispensing money to hundreds of other banks around the country, the same simple application process: the name of the bank, the number of shares, and how much money they wanted. It’s astounding that this was a level of scrutiny that was given to all of these banks as they took the money.

DONALD BARLETT: I think, you know, Jim has made the point, and it can’t be made too strongly, that in—you’re intuiting it, but basically this was a bailout aimed at two or three Wall Street institutions, and not to make it look like that, Paulson brings everybody in, or as many banks as he can get, so that it looks like everybody needs this help equally. And they absolutely did not.

JAMES STEELE: And the best—the second best illustration why this was the case, this bailout was supposedly to give money to these banks to build up their balance sheets, their reserves, so that they could then start loaning money again.

But when we looked at many of these banks, we found out some of these banks didn’t start loaning money; they bought other banks. Others actually jacked up their credit card rates, and thereby making credit and the flow of credit much harder for customers, some of whom they’d had for decades. So the basic purposes of this money, which was to free up credit, allegedly, did not come about.

quik 8 years, 5 months ago

Whether or not Obama inherited a mess is irrelevant at this point. The company that I work for, and I suspect many others as well, has been in a holding pattern for some time now waiting to see how Cap and Trade and healthcare shake out. That uncertainty is what is killing jobs. My company has eliminated 300 of 1000 US jobs since the recession began. If Cap and Trade passes, my company will likely make even more drastic job cuts in the US and continue to expand in Asia, Europe, and Mexico. In the meantime, we have done everything possible to reduce inventories to a bare bones level. There was some discussion lately around ramping up as the recession seemed to be ending. The decision was made that it was just too risky with what may happen particularly with cap and trade. Just the fact that the President and Congress are willing to steamroll through bills that can so dramatically increase costs is enough to force most businesses to avoid risk as much as possible. That translates to no new hires.

weeslicket 8 years, 5 months ago

yes, as time goes on, the burden falls increasingly on the incumbent president.

but, let's also remember that employment is always a 'lagging indicator' (i.e., employment figures always follow, and do not lead, economic activity generally).

so, we are still in for a long, hard slog.

one wonders? how did we get into this mess? did this mess just happen last november? or has this mess been accumulating for the past few years?

i happen to think that this mess has accumulated for some time now. i also happen to think that this mess isn't going to get fixed either quickly or easily.

sorry tom. no wow here.

Flap Doodle 8 years, 5 months ago

What was your source, merrill? Quoting without attribution is plagarism.

verity 8 years, 5 months ago

I've said it before and I'm saying it again. Get the money out of politics.

Publicly funded campaigns. Everybody has the same amount of money to spend to get their message out.

We, the people, are going to keep getting screwed as long as money can buy government.

I am really, really tired of the "conservative-liberal" vendetta/name-calling. All the bitching, whining, and moaning going on is getting us no where. Come up with some ideas or stfu. You're just using up air.

If our country goes down, we all go down. The canned goods in your basement, ammo out your kazoo and magic thinking are not going to help much in the end.

lctchr1 8 years, 5 months ago

Verity, couldn't agree more. Our political system is broken. Until that is fixed, it doesn't matter who is to blame. We are not a government of the people or for the people.

JHOK32 8 years, 5 months ago

Nobody remembers now that it was Herbert Hoover who led us into the Great Depression. But people remember FDR (a Democrat) who got us out of it - and won World War 2 to boot). Bush screwed this country up so bad it may take 3 Obamas to get us back on our feet. Bush stood by watching as his fat cat wall street buddies raped this country until our economy was in a hopeless shambles. As usual, the hard-working middle class is carrying the entire load on its backs, millions of jobs thrown out the window, millions more now on unemployment, food stamps, welfare, they've lost their houses, their health insurance, their respect...........hell, why didn't Bush just give them all a cyanide pill while he was at it. Now we have a mountain of Bush BLLSHT we have to dig out of while his fat cat friends made off like the legal bandits they are stealing our homes, life-savings, health insurance, & respect...........Let us only hope we teach our kids to not EVER vote for a snot-nosed rich kid who never worked an honest day in his life into the most powerful seat in the land.............Let us never forget what happens when the big money boys BUY our President rather than us Americans electing our President which is the way the system is suppose to work. This is what happens when we let our guard down & we'll be paying for it for many you get it yet ???????

pace 8 years, 5 months ago

The question of blame is a not the most pressing. We need ideas for solutions, we need to be brought forward and work together. Or we can replace our flag with a pointed finger. I applaud Obama for trying for bipartisan solutions. I am sick of demons instead of discussion.

Sunny Parker 8 years, 5 months ago

Hey Dems....Where are the jobs that Obamy promised to create? Answer that.

Instead of harping on Bush!

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