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During his presidency and after, George W. Bush was often criticized as the "nobody could have predicted president."  After all, from 9/11 and the post-invasion chaos in Iraq to Hurricane Katrina's drowning of New Orleans, the economic calamity of 2008 and so much more, Bush and his team repeatedly claimed "I don't think anybody could have predicted that."

So when Obama White House spokesman Jay Carney announced last week that "There was not a single mainstream, Wall Street, academic economist who knew at the time, in January of 2009, just how deep the economic hole was that we were in," voices across the political spectrum rightly took him to task.  But when President Obama lamented Tuesday that his administration "didn't know how bad it was," a look back at the numbers show just how right he was.

The President expressed that regret during an interview with KIRO TV in Seattle.  Asked "What's the one thing you know now that you wish you would have known when you were first sworn into office," Obama didn't hesitate:

"I think we understood that it was bad, but we didn't know how bad it was.  I think I could have prepared the American people for how bad this was going to be, had we had a sense of that."

That's not to say no one was sounding the alarm that the forecasts from government agencies such as the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) were understating the magnitude of the American economic calamity.  As Ezra Klein recalled in October:

There were certainly economists who argued that the recession was going to be worse than the forecasts. Nobel laureates Krugman and Joe Stiglitz were among the most vocal, but they were by no means alone. In December 2008, [Jared] Bernstein, who had been named Biden's chief economist, told the Times, "We'll be lucky if the unemployment rate is below double digits by the end of next year."

Still, the official forecasts were what they were.  And as Klein pointed out, "There was only one problem: It was wrong."

Consider the reports on economic growth and unemployment as Barack Obama was taking the oath of office in January 2009.  As the New York Times reported 10 days after Obama's inauguration:

The U.S. Commerce Department said gross domestic product, the widely followed measure of the economy, shrank at a 3.8 percent pace in the final three months of the year. That compared with a 0.5 percent decline in the previous quarter.

That same day, the BBC noted that "The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates a drop in real GDP for 2009 of 2.2%, followed by a rise of 1.5% in 2010, while the IMF predicts a fall of 1.6% this year, following by a recovery of 1.6% in 2010."  For its part, the CBO that same month estimated that unemployment "is projected to peak at above 9 percent early next year."  That projection in part was the basis for the Obama administration's now infamous prediction that after the stimulus program passed that February; joblessness would peak at 8 percent in the fall of 2009.

Unfortunately, only much later did Obama's team - and the American people - learn just how catastrophic the U.S. economic situation was at the beginning of 2009.

As The Economist and the Washington Post's Ezra Klein recently detailed, in early 2009 the American economy was not only in much worse shape than anyone imagined; it was literally on the brink of collapse. As The Economist explained the run-up to the passage of the $787 billion recovery program:

The White House looked at the economic situation, sized up Congress, and took its shot. Unfortunately, the situation was far more dire than anyone in the administration or in Congress supposed.

Output in the third and fourth quarters fell by 3.7% and 8.9%, respectively, not at 0.5% and 3.8% as believed at the time. Employment was also falling much faster than estimated. Some 820,000 jobs were lost in January, rather than the 598,000 then reported. In the three months prior to the passage of stimulus, the economy cut loose 2.2m workers, not 1.8m. In January, total employment was already 1m workers below the level shown in the official data.

As Klein summed it up two months ago:

The reality has been worse than the administration's nightmare scenario. Even with the stimulus, unemployment shot past 10 percent in 2009.

To understand how the administration got it so wrong, we need to look at the data it was looking at.

The Bureau of Economic Analysis, the agency charged with measuring the size and growth of the U.S. economy, initially projected that the economy shrank at an annual rate of 3.8 percent in the last quarter of 2008. Months later, the bureau almost doubled that estimate, saying the number was 6.2 percent. Then it was revised to 6.3 percent. But it wasn't until this year that the actual number was revealed: 8.9 percent. That makes it one of the worst quarters in American history. Bernstein and Romer knew in 2008 that the economy had sustained a tough blow; t hey didn't know that it had been run over by a truck.

Just how big a truck is reflected in these charts from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.  The contraction of the U.S. economy was far more severe than the January 2009 chart from the BBC above reflected:

And to be sure, the actual explosion in unemployment dwarfed anything Team Obama imagined as they took over the ship of state.

In its chart pack for "The Legacy of the Great Recession," CBPP showed what a more realistic assessment of the economy and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act should have looked like.  As CBPP explained, those graphs reveal "how deep a hole the recession created - and how much deeper that hole would have been without the financial stabilization and fiscal stimulus policies enacted in late 2008 and early 2009."

Alas, the damage to the U.S. economy and President Obama's political prospects was already done.  As Paul Krugman presciently warned on January 6, 2009:

I see the following scenario: a weak stimulus plan, perhaps even weaker than what we're talking about now, is crafted to win those extra GOP votes. The plan limits the rise in unemployment, but things are still pretty bad, with the rate peaking at something like 9 percent and coming down only slowly. And then Mitch McConnell says "See, government spending doesn't work."

(In October of that year, Krugman updated his grim assessment. "I went back to my first blog post -- January 6, 2009 -- worrying that the Obama economic plan was too cautious...Alas, I didn't have it wrong -- except that unemployment will, if we're lucky, peak around 10 percent, not 9.")

All of which leaves Barack Obama answering questions like this one from Steve Kroft of CBS 60 Minutes on Sunday.  "There's a general perception that the stimulus was not enough," Kraft said, "That it really didn't work."  Obama responded:

"Let me stop you there, Steve. First of all, there's not a general perception that the stimulus didn't work. You've got John McCain's former economist and a whole series of prominent economists, who say that it created or saved three million jobs and prevented us from goin' into a Great Depression. That works. So that's not true."

On this point, President Obama is correct.  But the perception problem, aided and abetted by myth-making and misinformation from his Republican opponents, remains.  And in large part, it's because when Barack Obama took over the stewardship of the U.S. economy, neither he nor most of the American government, knew just "how bad it really was."

* Crossposted at Perrspectives *

Originally posted to Jon Perr on Wed Dec 14, 2011 at 12:14 PM PST.

Also republished by EconKos, ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement, and Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (126+ / 1-)
    Recommended by:
    Gooserock, Horace Boothroyd III, Polly Syllabic, Setsuna Mudo, MKinTN, jhecht, AnnieR, blue aardvark, mallyroyal, leonard145b, pat of butter in a sea of grits, miningcityguy, millwood, blueyedace2, BarackStarObama, rkthomas, George Hier, Cederico, Kimball Cross, palantir, kevinpdx, dance you monster, SouthernLiberalinMD, inclusiveheart, MindRayge, notdarkyet, cotterperson, Sun Tzu, kitebro, Punditus Maximus, 4Freedom, Quasimodal, GainesT1958, howd, dwahzon, sleipner, Supavash, bnasley, Boris49, mookins, OnlyWords, smileycreek, TheLawnRanger, PatriciaVa, JLan, happymisanthropy, Observerinvancouver, nominalize, AnnCetera, jamess, Persiflage, OleHippieChick, Eikyu Saha, Youffraita, Nulwee, ilex, sydneyluv, Lying eyes, ferment, maybeeso in michigan, NovatoBon, Fury, dear occupant, Keninoakland, Celtic Pugilist, BusyinCA, 714day, psyched, Regina in a Sears Kit House, FG, riverlover, kurt, Egalitare, J M F, a gilas girl, Creosote, Heart n Mind, paul2port, wordene, rimstalker, Leftcandid, No one gets out alive, Words In Action, MartyM, whyvee, Debs2, Its a New Day, tb mare, highfive, maryabein, real world chick, Josiah Bartlett, Book of Hearts, rhubarb, Gorette, ybruti, greenbastard, trueblueliberal, sostos, cslewis, hillbrook green, science nerd, VTCC73, skyounkin, Throw The Bums Out, MuskokaGord, citizendane, appledown, buckstop, eru, Cliss, armadillo, bfitzinAR, Fireshadow, chicagoblueohio, pamelabrown, etherealfire, Dvalkure, monkeybrainpolitics, occams hatchet, opinionated, radical simplicity, bsmechanic, unclejohn, Involuntary Exile, ItsaMathJoke
    Hidden by:
    disrael
  •  The Facts Collided With Faith Based Economics (67+ / 0-)

    Conservative economics fails the people no matter which party conducts it.

    The facts lay in the wrong position on the political scale. In economics, like trade, like climate change, if the facts wish to join the adult conversation, the facts are going to have to become much more moderate.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Wed Dec 14, 2011 at 12:17:20 PM PST

    •  re think using that word, "fact" (7+ / 0-)

      and consider using the word "data" instead.

      facts are polarizing and imply a right and a wrong. it has become apparent that we, that people, are not capable of objectivity... and "right," "wrong," and "facts" are, at best, confusing depending on one's point of view.

      data seems more dispassionate, less personal. data comes into our brains and we process these data... just not all in the same way. we are not predisposed to draw the same conclusions from the same set of data. funny, isn't it?

      now me? i could really scream when I hear Obama say his team didn't know just how bad it was. it's as clear as a 500 car pile up. well, at least to me.

      but apparently not to those running (hahahaha) our gov't. they processed the available data very differently than i.

    •  If he (Obama) didnt know 'how bad it was' (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      skyounkin, magnetics, citizendane

      then he's clueless and incompetent, and therefore undeserving of a second term.

      Can we stick to the issues? Please!

      by AnthonyMason2k6 on Thu Dec 15, 2011 at 06:52:02 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Riiight. I'm certain you'll be much happier (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        The Gryffin, Dvalkure, Khun David

        with president Mitt or Newt.

        Did you actually read thre post objectively? Of course not.

        Ds see human suffering and wonder what they can do to relieve it. Rs see human suffering and wonder how they can profit from it.

        by JTinDC on Thu Dec 15, 2011 at 08:30:27 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Some people prefer to be screwed by (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          S M Tenneshaw

          their avowed enemy, than by their false friend.

          I'm still on the fence about that, but I think Obama has been basically a republican president.  The health bill, as far as I can see, was Romneycare.  The banks have been coddled and bailed out, while the great social insurance programs of the New Deal and Great Society are under continual attack.  We're still at war, we still have Guantanamo, domestic surveillance, outsourced torture at black sites.  Drone attacks (and collateral civilian deaths) are up.  A military whose budget exceeds the GDP of Russia is completely pinned down by maybe as many as 10,000 irregulars with AK-47's and IED's.

          What would be different under a rethuglican president?

          The hungry judges soon the sentence sign, And wretches hang, that jurymen may dine.

          by magnetics on Thu Dec 15, 2011 at 09:01:52 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  reinstatement of DADT, Roe v Wade overturned, (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Fireshadow, Dvalkure, BritLaw, Khun David

            SC moved at least two more justices to the right, entitlements slashed to the bone or dumped altogether, taxes cut for the rich to the point government programs become virtually non-existant. War with iran and who knows who else.

            You think things wouldn't be a lot worse under a GOP president? Think again.

            Ds see human suffering and wonder what they can do to relieve it. Rs see human suffering and wonder how they can profit from it.

            by JTinDC on Thu Dec 15, 2011 at 09:27:35 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Best republican president since Lincoln. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            S M Tenneshaw

            "Never let your sense of morals get in the way of doing what's right." - Isaac Asimov

            by Aramis Wyler on Thu Dec 15, 2011 at 11:38:07 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Ok. What's the difference between obama-bush? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          citizendane

          The sooner we move away from "lesser of two evils" politics the better.  What exactly are we getting with Obama that we wouldnt be getting with Bush, Romney or whoever other fucker the GOP puts up? Do you think tim Geithner economics are any different than what the Republicans will put up? what about foreign policy? I dont recall bush bombing pakistan, yemen, somalia as Obama's been doing from the get-go....Im just saying, just because Obama is "our" asshole, doesnt mean he isnt an asshole nonetheless.

          Can we stick to the issues? Please!

          by AnthonyMason2k6 on Thu Dec 15, 2011 at 09:22:04 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  He should have known how "bad it was"... (0+ / 0-)

        He was in the Senate.. and we were lead to believe he was the smartest President we would ever elect.

  •  The Biggest Stupidity of All Is Admitting This Now (28+ / 0-)

    While scandals are best admitted early for defusing, this kind of stupidity is best kept in the dark. It does nothing to help them with any part of the electorate and it absolutely enrages those who knew better at and before the time.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Wed Dec 14, 2011 at 12:19:42 PM PST

    •  it works with their particular strategy (60+ / 0-)

      Obama has perfected the leader-as-victim model.

      The rule is that Obama is never to blame for anything bad. He never has a choice--there's always a convenient, ever-changing villain of the week who made him do bad things. Conservative Democrats, Republicans, members of his own administration--always someone else. Obama, the most powerful man in the world, is merely a passive bystander in all this.

      I have never seen a politician who was as proficient in finding others to walk the plank for him. There is no shortage of willing scapegoats who offer themselves to deflect the responsibility away from him.

      Even now he has much of his base convinced that the tax cuts which he signed into law were the "Bush tax cuts," rather than the Obama tax cuts. And that he will repeal them (after his reelection, when he'll no longer have to care about what we want), even though punted when he had the chance to abolish them, and then extended them as soon as he had a GOP Congress.

      So when he says "we didn't know," and slaps his forehead, many of his base will feel sorry for him and angrily defend him against his critics.

      What would be for other politicians an admission of rank incompetence, instead becomes an occasion for a pity party to rally the troops around their embattled general--who, they argue, is at least is honest about his failure.

      "In America, the law is king." --Thomas Paine

      by limpidglass on Wed Dec 14, 2011 at 12:36:47 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Republican much? (15+ / 0-)

        If not, you sure sound like one and might want to get that checked out.

        This president does not pass the buck as you imply and/or blatantly state.  He just isn't as wrapped up in the pr game on constant, obsessive basis as other folks happen to be.

        He IS working with the most intransigent congress in recent history, if not ever.  This IS mostly on the GOP side, but there exists a bit of inflexibility on the Democratic side as well.

        Your implied expectation also makes me think you are looking for some sort of totalitarian approach to executive governance, a return to GWB, perhaps?

        Is Obama perfect? Absolutely not.  Is the state of the economy his fault? Absolutely not. Should he be out making a case for the latter? Absolutely not, you, as a good Democratic voter, should be.

        Give me a f'ing banana - Eddie Izzard

        by linc on Wed Dec 14, 2011 at 01:11:07 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  if he admits mistakes, (11+ / 0-)

          he's to blame.  if he doesn't, he's to blame.  some steps taken were the best he could have done at the time, others weren't.  move the shit on.

          "This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind[.]" -- Robert F. Kennedy

          by Loge on Wed Dec 14, 2011 at 02:10:15 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Except it wasn't the best he could have done. (29+ / 0-)

            He was roundly criticized at the time, on these exact grounds, and derided those who criticized him.

            The two things Teabaggers hate most are: being called racists; and black people.

            "It takes balls to execute an innocent man." -- anonymous GOP focus group member on Rick Perry

            by Punditus Maximus on Wed Dec 14, 2011 at 03:26:28 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Yep, this is just another attempted rewrite (18+ / 0-)

              being orchestrated by the administration and its toadies as part of their feverish and ongoing attempt to cast things (even if it means reinventing the past and spinning yarns out of whole cloth) in a more favorable light in preparation for this coming years election.

            •  To coin a phrase, Obama came to office with the (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              TheLawnRanger, Kickemout

              congress he had, not the congress he wished he had.

              If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter. ~ George Washington

              by 4Freedom on Wed Dec 14, 2011 at 03:38:59 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Who on earth did he "deride"? (5+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Loge, Supavash, OnlyWords, randallt, Fireshadow

              And why are 10-20% of 'democrats' so obsessed with past tripping at any given moment? MOVE ON friend, rise up and fight today's battles rather than obsessing about the ones you lost.  You were right, or so you imply. Excellent news. Unfortunately, the POTUS took someone else's advise and you lost that battle.

              This minutia debating is also ridiculous.  If Obama were some sort of neoconservative as implied by many of the commentators in this diary, there would have been absolutely no stimulus, rather than nearly a trillion dollar one.

              Give me a f'ing banana - Eddie Izzard

              by linc on Wed Dec 14, 2011 at 03:47:09 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  "some steps" (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              randallt

              i think he derided those who assumed away the problem of passing bills in the Senate, or assumed that simply proposing a bigger stimulus would result in one.  He was probably right to do so, though "deriding" is a bit strong.  Arlen Specter was many things, but he is not a stupid man.  He is not going to simply vote for cloture on a trillion dollar stimulus bill if Obama asked for 1.5 trillion versus voting for a 750 trillion stimulus bill when Obama asked for like 800 something.  He had a good sense of what he thought the size of the stimulus should be, which put him in a minority of his former party for thinking there should even be one.  Other things can be fairly criticized.  

              Though you concede the point without realizing it -- when Obama was (if he was) -- actually engaged in "deriding" anyone, and that would have been for political naivete not economic acumen -- it was the statements made that were objectionable.  And yet somehow admitting some mistakes is also a bad thing.  He should admit more?  Should never have been wrong in the first place?  doesn't matter -- the senate passed what it was going to pass.  

              "This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind[.]" -- Robert F. Kennedy

              by Loge on Wed Dec 14, 2011 at 03:58:41 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I don't think admitting mistakes is a bad thing. (6+ / 0-)

                I think Obama doesn't mean it -- it's a "sorry if someone was offended" moment.

                If he meant it, he'd be seeking advice from the people who were right about what was going to happen, such as Krugman.  And he won't, because his admission of "error" was transparently self-serving.

                The two things Teabaggers hate most are: being called racists; and black people.

                "It takes balls to execute an innocent man." -- anonymous GOP focus group member on Rick Perry

                by Punditus Maximus on Wed Dec 14, 2011 at 07:14:22 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Well, this is still something of a democracy (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  sunbro, Fireshadow

                  i also think "listen to" can cover both "listening to and acting on," "listening to and not acting on for independent reasons," or "listenijg to and disagreeing with.". Krugman's not exactly a lonely voice in the wilderness.  I suspect Obama already knew what the temperature was in congress for a big ass sitimulus, so i think choice 2 is the best bet.

                  "This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind[.]" -- Robert F. Kennedy

                  by Loge on Wed Dec 14, 2011 at 08:13:24 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Loge (0+ / 0-)

                    You're fricken great, my friend.  I'm so sick of the naysayers, all the time talking about how Obama could have done this or that, and saying that he hasn't done nearly anything correctly.

                    More power to you, Loge.  Thank you very much for telling the other side of the story here at dKos.  Seriously.

                    -4.75, -5.33 Cheney 10/05/04: "I have not suggested there is a connection between Iraq and 9/11."

                    by sunbro on Wed Dec 14, 2011 at 09:52:27 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Yeah, we shouldn't be questioning our leaders (3+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      dfarrah, magnetics, wsexson

                      or complaining when we can't find work or lose our houses.  Stupid American pony-wanters, trying to stay middle class.  Shouldn't they know better?

                      The two things Teabaggers hate most are: being called racists; and black people.

                      "It takes balls to execute an innocent man." -- anonymous GOP focus group member on Rick Perry

                      by Punditus Maximus on Thu Dec 15, 2011 at 07:39:17 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  All I see you doing (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Fireshadow

                        is bagging on President Obama, when the real assholes are the Republicans and DINOs in Congress, so yeah, it pisses me off.

                        Why don't you rail against the real culprits?

                        But, Noooooooooooooo...it's Obama I see you talking about here always...it's just bullshit.

                        -4.75, -5.33 Cheney 10/05/04: "I have not suggested there is a connection between Iraq and 9/11."

                        by sunbro on Thu Dec 15, 2011 at 07:55:51 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Have you considered reading (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          magnetics

                          my sig?  Every post, every time, I treat conservatives with the contempt they deserve, hon.

                          The two things Teabaggers hate most are: being called racists; and black people.

                          "It takes balls to execute an innocent man." -- anonymous GOP focus group member on Rick Perry

                          by Punditus Maximus on Thu Dec 15, 2011 at 08:13:11 AM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  When I see your (0+ / 0-)

                            name on a post, I always am asking myself, "Is this post the same old tune?  Will he bash Obama or the Rethugs?"

                            And constantly, I see yet again that it is Obama you choose to focus your ire on.  Your focus is exactly what Herman Cain said he wanted:  

                            Don't protest Wall Street.  Protest the White House.  

                            I'm sure that Herman Cain would be happy to see that you have taken his suggestion, as it seems that 99% of your criticisms are aimed at Obama.

                            -4.75, -5.33 Cheney 10/05/04: "I have not suggested there is a connection between Iraq and 9/11."

                            by sunbro on Thu Dec 15, 2011 at 12:51:27 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                      •  there's not a virtue in (0+ / 0-)

                        questioning leaders if it's done on the basis of a false dichotomy.  that's just being wrong.  

                        "This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind[.]" -- Robert F. Kennedy

                        by Loge on Thu Dec 15, 2011 at 08:24:31 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                  •  The problem is that that explanation (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Robobagpiper

                    is totally inconsistent with Obama's repeated references to the deficit and balancing our books.

                    At that point, the stimulus was bounded by Obama's ideology.

                    The two things Teabaggers hate most are: being called racists; and black people.

                    "It takes balls to execute an innocent man." -- anonymous GOP focus group member on Rick Perry

                    by Punditus Maximus on Thu Dec 15, 2011 at 07:38:44 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  only if you can't do two things at once (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Geekesque

                      one of the selling points of econ stimulus is that, over the medium term, it pays for itself.  how often do we see posts noting rightly that growth is the best way to cut the deficit.

                      i agree the stimulus reflected Obama's ideology, but the choice between $800 odd billion and $1.2 trillion isn't ideological.  your argument that it is is completely circular (the stimulus was too small because of ideology?  how do i know his ideology?  the stimulus was too small).  there are other examples, but the overall structure is the same, so a circular argument about, say, health care, added to a circular argument about stimulus, isn't corroboration.

                      in any event, the mea culpas here aren't about the size of stimulus, but rather the internal assumptions about growth given the known size of the stimulus.  perhaps had congress and the president both had the information about what Q4 2008 numbers were revised down to, it might have been different, but the overall political argument would likely be the same, just with different numbers.  we'd be sitting here complaining about a $1.2 trillion and not a $1.8 trillion stimulus instead, about 7% unemployment versus 9% unemployment.  Better, to be sure, but resting largely on an untested assumption.  we might say with some degree of confidence that had Obama known in advance of the revised Q4 figures he might have asked for more, based on these statements.  but we can't say the same about the senators who largely dictated the size of the stimulus before the details of the proposal hit the floor.  

                      "This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind[.]" -- Robert F. Kennedy

                      by Loge on Thu Dec 15, 2011 at 08:22:43 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  No. (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        dfarrah
                        your argument that it is is completely circular (the stimulus was too small because of ideology?  how do i know his ideology?  the stimulus was too small).

                        My argument is that I know his ideology from his focus on the deficit starting in 2010, and his refusal to prosecute the banksters.  That's why I said "deficit," and "banksters" when describing how I know his ideology.

                        My logic, for those playing at home:

                        1) The stimulus was too small.

                        2) Obama did not correct his course once it became clear that the stimulus was too small

                        3) Not only did Obama not correct his course, but he stated whipping out stupid supply-side tropes about the confidence fairy in 2010.  In addition, he refused (and still refuses) to try to fix the rampant and grossly illegal fraud in the financial sector.

                        4) So I believe that the reason (2) happened after (1) happened, was because of the ideology implied by (3).

                        Again, if you're not interested in what I'm saying, but rather defeating a strawman, that's fine.  But don't bother to engage, then, just have a happy sense in your own head that the strawman is down, and you won't have to be contradicted.

                        The two things Teabaggers hate most are: being called racists; and black people.

                        "It takes balls to execute an innocent man." -- anonymous GOP focus group member on Rick Perry

                        by Punditus Maximus on Thu Dec 15, 2011 at 08:33:26 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  The more I think about this, (0+ / 0-)

                          the more it seems like the prototypical Obama supporter's conversation.  It is unpossible that Obama engaged in the gross policy failures implied by not prosecuting banksters or focusing on the deficit for a year during 9% unemployment.

                          So, to an Obama supporter, it just didn't happen.  And any argument based on Obama doing these things is assigned to a random other statement.  Because the eyes just slide over this incontrovertible evidence of Obama's neoliberal economics.

                          The two things Teabaggers hate most are: being called racists; and black people.

                          "It takes balls to execute an innocent man." -- anonymous GOP focus group member on Rick Perry

                          by Punditus Maximus on Thu Dec 15, 2011 at 08:47:46 AM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  now, THAT is how to build and attack a strawman (0+ / 0-)

                            well done.

                            "This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind[.]" -- Robert F. Kennedy

                            by Loge on Thu Dec 15, 2011 at 08:51:44 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Methings yer verbage, Punkus Maxiumus, is just (0+ / 0-)

                            a smokescreen for your inability to reconcile the inconsistencies in your arguments. Circular logic does not support your premise (Obama= bad cuz I say so). Circular logic is a cat chasing his own tail. Circular logic is you stating artificial facts (Obama knew how bad it was) that you project onto Obama even though all the charts and graphs said he didn't know. Maybe WE knew here, but really we could only suspect the severity of the crash, as the data was minimized (under Prez Bush... gee how could that have happened?). You are basically making shit up to enforce your ideological view that if Obama did it, it must be bad.... oh and your little sig caveat " but Republicans are real bad".  I'm not buying it.

                            Use this for our causes! "Goodbye American Dream" music: http://tinyurl.com/3hhtuyo lyrics: http://tinyurl.com/3jm7g2k

                            by Fireshadow on Thu Dec 15, 2011 at 11:31:20 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  This is exactly what I was referring to. (0+ / 0-)

                            Because the idea that Obama focused on the deficit for a year during 9% unemployment is simply not possible, my arguments which are based on this incontrovertible fact are now based on me just asserting things.

                            Denial is a hell of a drug, seriously.  The more I interact with Obama's supporters, the more clear I am on how terrible a leader he actually is.

                            The two things Teabaggers hate most are: being called racists; and black people.

                            "It takes balls to execute an innocent man." -- anonymous GOP focus group member on Rick Perry

                            by Punditus Maximus on Thu Dec 15, 2011 at 01:49:46 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                        •  i think when you say (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Fireshadow

                          "logic implied by (3)," the notion that your reasoning is circular isn't quite the strawman you imagine it to be.  instead, you're doubling down on circular logic and confirmation bias.  

                          "This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind[.]" -- Robert F. Kennedy

                          by Loge on Thu Dec 15, 2011 at 08:50:16 AM PST

                          [ Parent ]

          •  He received very good advice on the stimulus (37+ / 0-)

            Krugman and Stiglitz, among others, engaged in expert analysis and came up with proposals that were sound and fact based.

            Obama chose to not take their advice and ended up with exactly what they predicted - a too small stimulus with no lasting economic recovery.

            I would have a lot more respect for Obama if he followed the advice of economic policy experts instead of chasing the dream of "bipartisan grand bargains".  With the latter, he always ends up looking bad and we end up with an ongoing economic depression.

            "I'll believe corporations are people when Texas executes one."

            by Betty Pinson on Wed Dec 14, 2011 at 03:39:29 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  he received bad advice (5+ / 0-)

              by Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins, Arlen Specter, and Ben Nelson.  They voted.

              Economic policy experts are not experts on how bills become law.  Saying oh just ask for $1.2 trillion is a good way for nothing to get passed.  

              "This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind[.]" -- Robert F. Kennedy

              by Loge on Wed Dec 14, 2011 at 03:53:32 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  So Obama doesn't know how to negotiate? (23+ / 0-)

                That "pre-compromising" thing hasn't worked out to well for him so far.

                "I'll believe corporations are people when Texas executes one."

                by Betty Pinson on Wed Dec 14, 2011 at 04:00:31 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  well, we'll never know (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Lying eyes, sunbro, Fireshadow

                  whether the possibility of "just ask for everything" would have worked, but that does not mean he "doesn't know how to negotiate" because he didn't pursue that tactic.  Congress is under no obligation to pass a stimulus bill, believe it or not.  Clinton tried one in 1993 and got rejected.  If I'm one of those four senators and the President comes in with a demand I consider ridiculous, i don't say, wow the problem is really bad (which Krugman imagines would happen), i laugh.  Now, this would not make me a very good senator, but the four i mentioned are/were not very good senators, and that's not even mentioning Lieberman and Bayh.  

                  Considering that the economy is no longer in complete free fall, actually having passed something worked out sufficiently well that i'll overlook that you're using Sarah Palin's phraseology.  Those criticizing Obama's negotiating skills seem less acquainted with negotiating than those who refrain.  But you don't want to be convinced of Obama's first term accomplishments, you just want to monday morning quarterback.  Which is fine, as long as everyone knows what game it is you're playing.

                  "This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind[.]" -- Robert F. Kennedy

                  by Loge on Wed Dec 14, 2011 at 04:23:53 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

              •  Don't ask opponents, mobilize supporters (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                mightymouse

                The thing that most rankles me is that even before taking office, Obama laid off all of the paid staff that had helped him get elected and essentially told all his volunteers to go home. He claimed it was now time to negotiate with Congress and we weren't needed anymore. This was really stupid. Any good organizer would know that you don't send your supporters home when it is time to negotiate -- you mobilize them to pressure your opponents.

                The corporate Right controls much of the media and much of Congress. Our strength is in the large number of mobilized progressive activists willing to lobby our Congresscritters. If Obama had asked us to help him -- instead of asking Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins, Arlen Specter, and Ben Nelson -- we might have been able to pressure a few of them to go along with him. But instead he tried to go it alone and the result is that we all got screwed.

                •  I get about 10 emails a day (0+ / 0-)

                  impluing the exact opposite.  What is OFA if not exactly what you say isnt here?  Obviously, he cant run a campaign operation, but the networks were still there.  

                  Anyway, we didnt get screwed, failing to pass anything would be being screwed, and i dont quite know what it means to go around the senate, and specifically the senators who were the deciding votes.  

                  "This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind[.]" -- Robert F. Kennedy

                  by Loge on Wed Dec 14, 2011 at 08:19:42 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  OFA? (0+ / 0-)

                    As best I can tell, OFA mostly lobbies progressives to support the watered-down, compromised bills that Obama has already negotiated. On the stimulus bill, Obama should have staked out a stronger bill calling for at least $1.2 trillion of real spending (not tax cuts) and then mobilized OFA to fight for that. He might have had to compromise from there, but he might have been able to force the Repubs to compromise. Instead, he pre-negotiated a poor bill and then lobbied us to support it. Then he followed up by spending most of his time echoing Republican talking points about deficits and setting up the Catfood Commission to undermine Social Security and Medicare (and enlisting OFA to support that).

                    And yes, we got screwed. The economy is still a disaster 3 years later. Democrats lost big in 2010 and may lose again in 2012. In Ohio, where I live, the Republicans won all the executive positions in 2010 and big majorities in the statehouse. Now the Republicans have just drastically gerrymanded the Congressional map so it is unlikely that more than 4 Democrats will be elected (out of 16 Ohio districts) for the rest of the decade. This is terrible.

                    •  yes, which i think was the point (0+ / 0-)

                      lobbying to support the President's bills, however one chooses to characterize them.

                      "This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind[.]" -- Robert F. Kennedy

                      by Loge on Thu Dec 15, 2011 at 10:41:58 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

              •  Loge. Today, Thursday 12/15, the House GOP just (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                miningcityguy, dfarrah

                unveiled a $1 Trillion spending bill.  Obama could have asked for more and gotten it.  He just got stingy with the 99%.  He certainly wasn't stingy with the 1% bankers.

                •  Thats a regular budget bill, (0+ / 0-)

                  not stimulus, and it represents a cut in discretionary spending.

                  "This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind[.]" -- Robert F. Kennedy

                  by Loge on Thu Dec 15, 2011 at 06:44:26 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

              •  And had he said their stimulus was not enough (0+ / 0-)

                he could now rightly blame them for the bad economy and ask Congress to do it right this time.

                Unfortunately, he chose to side with Snowe, Collins, Spector, Nelson and all the other optimists, and now he owns the bad economy.

                It's amazing to me that the President feels the need to tout every compromise as a great victory that will fix all our problems.  I don't understand why he'd rather be a cheerleader than a realist.  Take the best deal you can get, yes, but acknowledge the shortcomings.  No one will mind if the measure outperforms the expectations.

                "I told you so" is a hell of a lot better position that "No one knew".

                To believe that markets determine value is to believe that milk comes from plastic bottles. Bromley (1985)

                by sneakers563 on Thu Dec 15, 2011 at 11:04:47 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  how is it a matter of "siding" with them? (0+ / 0-)

                  he needed them to vote one way, which they might not otherwise have done.  Who suffers more from blaming the republicans for passing a stimulus that was too small?  The republicans or the people who benefited from it?  Now imagine had compromise not happened and nothing passed.  the downside to the republicans would be (arguably) political -- it's not like the stimulus is overwhelmingly popular.  Obama's compromise did significantly more good than harm.

                  The rest of the comment is a bit of a false dichotomy.  Obama has pushed for additional spending and blamed the GOP for being recalcitrant, so he's really doing both.  The "no one knew" was a very specific point and only partially related to the size of the stimulus, though that's an easier target for progressive angst than multipliers and Q4 GDP data.

                  "This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind[.]" -- Robert F. Kennedy

                  by Loge on Thu Dec 15, 2011 at 11:11:21 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

        •  He's passing the buck on China (4+ / 0-)

          FT headline a few minute ago....

          China set to tax US-made car imports

          http://www.ft.com/...

          What will President Obama do?  Convene a task force to study the issue?  Have Treasury emark on a study to determine whether China is unlawfully undervaluing its currency?

          Of course it is.

          And Romney has vowed to immediately call China what it is, a Currency Manipulator.  He would then immediately slap Chinese goods with countervailing duties.

          Next fall, in the debates, the American people will witness a China debate.

          I'm hoping that by that time, Obama has done the right thing: Label China a currency manipulator.

          Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project. http://www1.hamiltonproject.org/es/hamilton/hamilton_hp.htm

          by PatriciaVa on Wed Dec 14, 2011 at 05:24:28 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Not republican -- just progressive. (0+ / 0-)

          The hungry judges soon the sentence sign, And wretches hang, that jurymen may dine.

          by magnetics on Thu Dec 15, 2011 at 09:02:50 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  It was the job of President Obama, and no one else (12+ / 0-)

        to know the correct information and to respond appropriately and adequately.  He didn't know and he didn't respond appropriately or adequately.

        •  The President doesn't write the law. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Lying eyes, janemas

          Congress does.

          Democratic leaders in congress had to make compromises on the size of the stimulus in order to get the votes to pass it.

          •  cloture (6+ / 0-)

            No, purely budgetary items can be voted through reconciliation requiring only 50 votes---and yeah, there would have had to have been some screwing around with projections over ten years to make the numbers look ok for reconciliation--but it could have been done. Newly in office with a mandate for change, he could have pressed for a huge stimulus threatening to use Bill Frist's nuclear option to blow up the filabuster if needed. He could have gone to the nation directly and openly blamed Bush, conservatism, and  Republicans for driving the nation into a depression--yes, demagogued a little instead of always insisting that both sides were partly right and partly to blame. He could have demanded (as Romer, one of his inner circle, wanted) a 2.1 trillion dollar stimulus coupled with huge tax increases on millionaires/corporations and then--when the Senate watered it down, gone on TV saying that it would help but not enough, and that thanks to the Congress unemployment would stay higher than it should. He could have kept mentioning that and had his surrogates mention that every week on Sunday Punditfest for two years.  He asked for a weak stimulus, then led the cheerleading for Happy Days are Here Again, so that when things weren't getting better (just no longer getting worse), he and the Democratic party took the blame. Thus 2010. You know the sequel.

            •  Hundreds of billions (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              FG

              in deficit spending cant be used for reconciliation,  it has to be deficit neutral.  A stimulus that qualified wouldnt be stimulus.

              Anyway, i think the diary jumps immediately to size of stimulus, which wasnt much up for debate, but rather the projected multipliers, that is, how fast and how far unemployment would fall.  This is a much narrower wuestion.  It says Obama oversold the stimulus, but he would have evidently oversold a bigger stimulus -- were one possible -- by a proportionate amount.

              "This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind[.]" -- Robert F. Kennedy

              by Loge on Wed Dec 14, 2011 at 08:30:44 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  I completely agree and was thinking the same (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              dfarrah

              thing as I read the diary and the comments. Not only was the administration fail economically, it failed politically.

          •  Obviously you haven't been watching. Haven't (0+ / 0-)

            you been paying attention during negotiations - Harry Reid will say they took a call from Obama and the President agrees with what is in a bill.  Besides why would McConnell want to negotiate with Obama.....Obama is giving the dems the outline of what bills Obama wants.  you need to watch more tv, news, etc.  Congress passes the bills.  If it is GOP written it could be by lobbiests or ALEX.

        •  Hey Squirrel, did you immediately call for the (0+ / 0-)

          impeachment of Bush after 9-11? Because if you believe the it was the job of the President "to know the correct information and to respond appropriately and adequately", well then you must have been calling for Bush's impeachment immediately!.... Right?
          Bush and his inner circle were repeatedly sent reports titled "Bin Laden determined to attack USA" ... and he and his top advisers ignored them!!!

          President Obama, on the other hand, has just recently (like us) received the corrected data of how bad things really were in '08. "His job" is to make the best decision possible with the information given, but that information was accumulated from the previous administration, so you could say it's just further proof of a GOP setup to make Obama fail. I'm sorry, I just get annoyed sometimes with all the Monday morning quarterbacking that goes on here...

          Use this for our causes! "Goodbye American Dream" music: http://tinyurl.com/3hhtuyo lyrics: http://tinyurl.com/3jm7g2k

          by Fireshadow on Thu Dec 15, 2011 at 11:44:32 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Amen! (16+ / 0-)

        And people here wonder why, even with bat shit crazy Repubicans, Obama is not going to have a cake walk to reelection.  

        Of course that reelection assumes there won't be a brokered convention and the Republicans settle on a Jeb Bush.  

        What would be for other politicians an admission of rank incompetence, instead becomes an occasion for a pity party to rally the troops around their embattled general--who, they argue, is at least is honest about his failure.

        The new selling point.  

        We've gone from "the smartest guy in the room" to the "eleventy dimensional chessmaster" to "at least he admits his failures".  

        This is a nightmare.  We have crazy on the GOP side and incompetent/ignorant on the other.  

        Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich: I'm loving it.

        by NyteByrd1954 on Wed Dec 14, 2011 at 03:41:24 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  If it were true..it's not ..someone knew because (16+ / 0-)

        I know for a fact I wrote the President every single day
        telling him I felt we were in a depression and to get out and see some real harm down on Main Street.  Now whether the intercepter shredded the message..I don't know but people on here were screaming about our economic mess as well.  Respectfully, Mr. President, I don't buy the we were in the dark.  I buy the lights got shut off and we lit a candle and sang Kumbayah while choosing to look the other way and that includes yelling for public option and the abuse of protestors.  I am not that naive.  I will vote for the dem but don't try and sell me that bill of goods.  Flame me if you want.  I won't change my mind.  If I was writing and calling and emailing I know others were.

        We the People have to make a difference and the Change.....Just do it ! Be part of helping us build a veteran community online. United Veterans of America

        by Vetwife on Wed Dec 14, 2011 at 03:43:35 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Reagan was as proficient, and Reagan is Obama's (5+ / 0-)

        model.  Reagan was called the teflon president.  Obama is another.  Bush must be laughing his ass off.  Everything Bush wanted that he didn't get, Obama is delivering.

        BTW, keep an ear tuned to the near possibility of an hellacious explosion coming from the direction of Pakistan.  We've hideously screwed up there and Pakistan probably can't any longer be threatened or bribed into acquiescence.

        Those who forget the pasta are doomed to reheat it.

        by CarolinNJ on Wed Dec 14, 2011 at 04:02:09 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  bashing Obama and quoting Paine (0+ / 0-)

        if you aren't a what ever those glen beck followers are called then i am shocked

        we are living on a tiny little speck of a rock somewhere in an infinite universe and the only thing any of us know for sure is that we have each other. i can't imagine how we shouldn't be holding on to each other for dear life. - me

        by Anton Bursch on Wed Dec 14, 2011 at 08:13:13 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Actually he is admitting fault here (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Fireshadow

        You should be overjoyed. Instead you spin it as a 'pity party'.

        So when Obama is not admitting fault then you accuse him of passing the buck. When he admits fault then he is having a pity party. Got it.

    •  It wasn't stupidity (17+ / 0-)

      Krugman and Sitlitz certainly argued for a bigger stimulus, but Stiglitz wanted only 20% more - and it probably should have been twice what is was.  If Obama loses, this decision will be why

      The most important question facing Obama that day was how large the stimulus should be. Since the election, as the economy continued to worsen, the consensus among economists kept rising. A hundred-billion-dollar stimulus had seemed prudent earlier in the year. Congress now appeared receptive to something on the order of five hundred billion. Joseph Stiglitz, the Nobel laureate, was calling for a trillion. Romer had run simulations of the effects of stimulus packages of varying sizes: six hundred billion dollars, eight hundred billion dollars, and $1.2 trillion. The best estimate for the output gap was some two trillion dollars over 2009 and 2010. Because of the multiplier effect, filling that gap didn’t require two trillion dollars of government spending, but Romer’s analysis, deeply informed by her work on the Depression, suggested that the package should probably be more than $1.2 trillion. The memo to Obama, however, detailed only two packages: a five-hundred-and-fifty-billion-dollar stimulus and an eight-hundred-and-ninety-billion-dollar stimulus. Summers did not include Romer’s $1.2-trillion projection. The memo argued that the stimulus should not be used to fill the entire output gap; rather, it was “an insurance package against catastrophic failure.” At the meeting, according to one participant, “there was no serious discussion to going above a trillion dollars.”

      Summers role in all of this can only be termed a disaster.  But part of the reason so many misjudged it was that the economy was in fact worse than the numbers (which we later revised) suggested.  The models even Romer was running were based on inaccurate starting conditions.

      I don't think there is anything wrong with Obama admitting something that everyone now understands, particularly because in doing so he reminds people who was to blame for the mess.

      Whether Obama has learned the lesson from this decision seems, however, far from clear.

      The bitter truth of deep inequality has been disguised by an era of cheap imported goods and the anyone-can-make-it celebrity myth - Polly Toynbee

      by fladem on Wed Dec 14, 2011 at 12:49:10 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Summers makes a (39+ / 0-)

        convenient demon, but as this post, demonstrates, the call for a larger stimulus package was wide and widely known -- msm journalists were asking him why he wasn't going for a package as bit as economists were recommending --and President Obama went for smaller because of a concern about deficits and perceptions about what he could get through Congress. He was afraid of starting out with a defeat--but his "victory" turned out to be a defeat that largely shaped his presidency.

        But if you go back and look, it's clear Obama was well aware many economists wanted a much larger stimulus bill. Here's a story from January 5, 2009:

            President-elect Barack Obama said economists are suggesting a U.S. stimulus may have to be as large as $1.3 trillion, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said. Obama “has indicated that there’s at least 20 economists that he’s talked with, and all but one of those believe it should be from $800 billion to $1.2 trillion or $1.3 trillion,” Reid said after meeting with Obama on Capitol Hill.

        Then two days later on January 7, Obama held a press conference:

            TAPPER: Your team has talked about the stimulus package being $675 to $775 billion. But at the same time...you're going to distribute a memo in which economists say it should be between $800 billion and $1.3 trillion. How do you reconcile that difference...?

            OBAMA: Well, we are still in consultation with members of Congress about the final size of the package. We expect that it will be on the high end of our estimates, but [it] will not be as high as some economists have recommended because of the constraints and concerns we have about the existing deficit.

        The same day Obama was interviewed on CNBC:

            MR. HARWOOD: Tomorrow you're going to give a speech and talk about your economic stimulus package...It looks like it's going to be at the high end of your range, around $775 billion. If it's correct that, as your aides have said, the danger is doing too little rather than too much...why stop at $775 billion? Why not go to the 1.2 trillion (dollars) that some economists have recommended?

            PRESIDENT-ELECT OBAMA: ...We've seen ranges from 800 to 1.3 trillion, and our attitude was that, given the legislative process, if we start towards the low end of that, we'll see how it develops....

            MR. HARWOOD: So it's going to get bigger.

            PRESIDENT-ELECT OBAMA: Well, we don't know yet.

        •  As the New Yorker makes clear (5+ / 0-)

          at the time Summers prevailed in the debate.  Obama is NOT an economist.  He can be blamed for many things, but he was following the advice of his chief economist.  

          You can't discuss Obama's decision without discussing Summers role.  

          It is worth noting that Stiglitz wasn't for that much bigger of a stimulus either.

          There are two huge unknowns in this debate:
          1.  To what extent was the economic recovery derailed by Europe?  Certainly it had an enourmous effect in the summer of 2010, and also in the summer of 2011.  Holding Obama accountable for that seems unfair - but I really can't quantify the effect.
          2.  Had Obama been more aggresive in resolving the mortgage mess, would the stimulus have been enough?  There has never been an economic recovery, until this one that was not lead by housing and construction.  The continued problems in the housing market are a direct result of White House passivity to some degree (though in part it is inevitable in any financial meltdown).  The failure to force a resoution of the absolutely amazing misfeasance in mortgage documentation is far less forgivable than missing the size of a stimulus package because the numbers behind it were wrong.

          I wrote in 2009 that I worried that Obama's failure to clean house on Wall Street would be his Katrina - the mistake that he could never undue.  He is running better than I though he would given unemployment, and we don't seem headed for a double dip that would destroy him.

          But I still don't think he will get re-elected.  And that failure to put distance between himself and Wall Street will be one reason.

          The bitter truth of deep inequality has been disguised by an era of cheap imported goods and the anyone-can-make-it celebrity myth - Polly Toynbee

          by fladem on Wed Dec 14, 2011 at 01:22:55 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I don't know-- (24+ / 0-)

            If I took over the White House just a few short months after the larges financial collapse since the Great Depression, I'd become an economist - quickly.

            And what I am really saying here is that such a momentous and important event like this one that requires government response should not have been managed by advisers to the degree that it apparently was.

            I will add that even if a President doesn't become an economist, the politician should have understood that a bad economy makes for poor political prospects; and had I been in his shoes all I would have done was focus on how not to just save a portion of jobs, but also ways to create as many damn jobs as I could possibly think of with or without Congressional assistance.  I would have pulled out all of the stops in the first 100-200 days.

            Finally, FWIW, the $780 Billion was not really all allocated as much of it was in tax credits and other such deals that people were unable to capitalize on.  I would have made sure that it was an all cash deal and that the money got out immediately - not delayed as it was.

            •  That's why neither of us would be able to get (9+ / 0-)

              anywhere near the legislative process.

              What you propose is an attempt at an authentic solution. What we got was a bank bailout because our government's corporate and financial sponsors called in their markers.

              These bank and corporate markers will continue prevail until the present system has some systemic changes. What those might be is to be determined.

              If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter. ~ George Washington

              by 4Freedom on Wed Dec 14, 2011 at 03:45:39 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  I completely opposed the stimulus (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              marty marty, soros, inclusiveheart

              Just as I continue to oppose our horrific level of deficit spending, but I generally agree with your comment that the President should "become an economist" and is completely accountable for what happens.

              "He relied on his chief economist" means "he hired the wrong chief economist" which equates to "he failed".

              By the way, the disaster that Obama is presently leading us into with 100% GDP debt with 10% deficits will not be apparent for some time, but when it finally comes crashing down the wreckage will be massive. People on any kind of leverage (commodities, stocks, etc) will all be crushed.

              (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
              Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

              by Sparhawk on Wed Dec 14, 2011 at 09:05:17 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  According to the book (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              marty marty, ybruti, skyounkin

              Confidence Men Obama actually understood the coming crisis pretty early.

              Answering the question how bad things would get is fundamentally an exercise in econometrics.  I have no expectation that the president is going to know the ins and outs of what goes into those models.

              The irony, of course, is he had someone who knew the stimulus package was too small, but she didn't get heard.

              The bitter truth of deep inequality has been disguised by an era of cheap imported goods and the anyone-can-make-it celebrity myth - Polly Toynbee

              by fladem on Thu Dec 15, 2011 at 04:54:56 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  Obama hired Summers, (22+ / 0-)

            and I gotta say, I cried the day he did.

            The two things Teabaggers hate most are: being called racists; and black people.

            "It takes balls to execute an innocent man." -- anonymous GOP focus group member on Rick Perry

            by Punditus Maximus on Wed Dec 14, 2011 at 03:26:58 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  I remember that article (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            mightymouse

            and i think the final negotiations over the size came down to Rahm, Ben Nelson, and Arlen Specter, with Specter wanting something bigger than Nelson, despite being an R at the time.  Note as well Specter also knew of these different economists' projections, but what i think Obama meant was overselling how fast unemployment would fall.  I think everyone recognized in the short term at least, a bigger stimulus means bigger unemployment, but i dont know that krugman said the projections romer and summers had were off in their internal numbers.

            "This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind[.]" -- Robert F. Kennedy

            by Loge on Wed Dec 14, 2011 at 08:44:46 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Of course (12+ / 0-)

          Even as this whole thing was unfolding and things weren't going well in terms of the unemployment rate as just one obvious indicator that the stimulus wasn't enough, President Obama - even before ACA was passed - put together Simpson-Bowles and went off for 18 months on the deficit quest to nowhere ride. This was despite the fact the the deficit was not even in the top 3 concerns amongst the people according to Gallup coming in at 5% or less while Jobs and the economy were getting 30%+ each. Even at the time of the 2010 elections no other issue but those two were above double digits and both were over 30%.

          If it wasn't for the fact that Republicans are crazy and they only have unelectable candidates to field he would be facing the largest electoral defeat of a sitting president since Taft.

          Rest assured, since I have seen in the last day or so that both Simpson and Bowles have been out talking again, if the President goes off on a deficit hunt or tries to revive his "Grand Bargain" he may just end up losing come November.

          •  The deficit is a probelm, (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            fladem

            and the drivers of it-- tax cuts and spiraling health costs, can and should be liberal priorities.  What Obama has been trying to find ways to do is decouple tax cuts for the rich from those for everyone, see recent news about upcoming recesses, millionaires surtaxes, etc.  There were commissioners other than bowles and simpson, and some very good ideas to come out of it, schakowsky's proposal for example.  Politicslly, anything that shows the gop wants to cut entitlements but refuses to raise taxes for the rich is a winner.  You would pass up this opportunity, but what instead on the deficit.  Simply ignore it? Much of it is cyclical, but far from all.

            "This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind[.]" -- Robert F. Kennedy

            by Loge on Wed Dec 14, 2011 at 08:50:26 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Too bad Obama made it worse, extended tax cuts (5+ / 0-)

              ...the least effective form of stimulus (and a major part of his original stimulus unfortunately.)  

              That bit of idiocy was the last straw for me, and why he will never get another vote from me.  He is not even the faintest shadow of the candidate I voted for.  Instead he has positioned himself to the Right of Reagan.  

              Worse than that, he did nothing to control health care costs!  There is no system wide cost control.  It's a fucking joke that did exaclty what the insurance and health care industry wanted.  

              "Money is like manure. You have to spread it around or it smells." J. Paul Getty

              by Celtic Pugilist on Wed Dec 14, 2011 at 11:45:52 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Thats a vote for the gop (0+ / 0-)

                and by extending in the lame duck, it kept the terms out of the current house, and there were pro stimulative provisions to go along with the deal.  They also expire next year because Obama made the deal when he did.  Had congress voted on them before the election, different story perhaps, but you already saw what happens with taxes when republicans win one election.  This very week, Obama is pushing tax increases on millionaires.  

                The medical loss ratio regs are cost ontrol, but there is no price control.  60 years, no dems pass comprehensive health care, and here its either forgotten or misrepresented.

                "This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind[.]" -- Robert F. Kennedy

                by Loge on Thu Dec 15, 2011 at 06:31:57 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

          •  Even Krugman (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            MindRayge

            would agree with the following:
            1.  Short term stimulus
            2.  Long term deficit reduction

            The commision was Obama's attempt at fixing the second part of the problem, and it is worth noting the Commision didn't propose deficit reduction until the economy recovered.

            Which is not to say that the Commision's recomendations weren't completely wrong headed.  The Commision reduced the deficit by 4 Trillion over 10 years.

            Repealing the Bush tax cuts does the same thing.

            The bitter truth of deep inequality has been disguised by an era of cheap imported goods and the anyone-can-make-it celebrity myth - Polly Toynbee

            by fladem on Thu Dec 15, 2011 at 06:43:40 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  How would a legislative defeat on stimulus (0+ / 0-)

          have improved things?  This is exactly what people mean by "purity". I suppose the whole ACA should have been voted down, too.

            Obama was a member of the senate when tarp got voted on, he knew the capacity and tolerance of the 55th to 61st most conservwtive member to vote for a whole lot of deficit spending.  

          "This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind[.]" -- Robert F. Kennedy

          by Loge on Wed Dec 14, 2011 at 08:41:04 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  What happened to the Buck Stops Here? The (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          miningcityguy, ggwoman55, cslewis

          President is guilty of having a faulty inner circle of advisers .  He picked them.  The Buck Stops with the President.  Look at Obama's cabinet - mostly GOP.  And people still think Obama is a progressive.  What a laugh!

    •  Gooserock - I completely agree (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Vetwife, kck, icemilkcoffee

      This should have stayed under a rock until after 2012.

      "let's talk about that"

      by VClib on Wed Dec 14, 2011 at 01:36:06 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'm wondering out loud if this might have been (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      howd, bnasley
      While scandals are best admitted early for defusing, this kind of stupidity is best kept in the dark. It does nothing to help them with any part of the electorate and it absolutely enrages those who knew better at and before the time

      a wiser strategy than trying to keep it in the dark as you say.

      For one thing since this is about the economy and the Republicans (mostly) have been working overtime trying to cripple the economy and make it worse than it was when the POTUS stepped into the Oval Office - perhaps it's better Obama came out in front of this thing.  At least his side of the story is already part of the media record.  I have no doubt in my mind that this is one of the biggest things that the Repugs are going to go after him on.

      And for these assholes, if President Obama doesn't wear his fucking flag pin it's a goddamn scandal.

      JMHO...

      When everybody talkin' all at once no one can hear the wise one speak, So just be still and silence will provide the wisdom that you seek - by Tori del Allen

      by Dumas EagerSeton on Wed Dec 14, 2011 at 03:06:43 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Agreed. It makes him sound clueless (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      miningcityguy

      He should have said something like "the severity of the crash wasn't apparent to most economists until 9 months afterwards"

      No sense handing a soundbite for the republican to use as campaign fodder.

    •  He's not admitting this now... (0+ / 0-)

      This is something he's said going back to when the data was first release...in August, 2011!!

  •  That is funny I figured it out (21+ / 0-)

    when they went to war and didn't raise taxes. Plus there was that little mortgage mess that was brewing.

    But the U.S,. is no where near ready for a Transgender president.

    Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.

    by Horace Boothroyd III on Wed Dec 14, 2011 at 12:23:47 PM PST

  •  Maybe They Could Have Found (21+ / 0-)

    Some Americans and asked them how it was out here.

    "I'll believe that corporations are people when I see Rick Perry execute one."

    by bink on Wed Dec 14, 2011 at 12:25:53 PM PST

  •  So you can't blame Obama for missizing (4+ / 0-)

    the stimulus.

    You CAN fairly blame him for not asking for a second round.

    In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; but in practice, there always is a difference. - Yogi Berra

    by blue aardvark on Wed Dec 14, 2011 at 12:33:16 PM PST

    •  Actually, I've Long Argued... (24+ / 0-)

      ...that you can blame Obama for the under-sized stimulus.  While it would have been an incredibly hard sell to Congress (especially without the later data showing the true magnitude of the crisis), there were voices inside his own team calling for a much bigger program.

      In the fall of 2009, Ryan Lizza recounted how President Obama and his advisers, especially Larry Summers, concluded that discretion was the better part of valor when it came to the $1.2 trillion package many felt was needed:

      The most important question facing Obama that day [in December 2008] was how large the stimulus should be. Since the election, as the economy continued to worsen, the consensus among economists kept rising. A hundred-billion-dollar stimulus had seemed prudent earlier in the year. Congress now appeared receptive to something on the order of five hundred billion. Joseph Stiglitz, the Nobel laureate, was calling for a trillion. Romer had run simulations of the effects of stimulus packages of varying sizes: six hundred billion dollars, eight hundred billion dollars, and $1.2 trillion. The best estimate for the output gap was some two trillion dollars over 2009 and 2010. Because of the multiplier effect, filling that gap didn't require two trillion dollars of government spending, but Romer's analysis, deeply informed by her work on the Depression, suggested that the package should probably be more than $1.2 trillion. The memo to Obama, however, detailed only two packages: a five-hundred-and-fifty-billion-dollar stimulus and an eight-hundred-and-ninety-billion-dollar stimulus. Summers did not include Romer's $1.2-trillion projection. The memo argued that the stimulus should not be used to fill the entire output gap; rather, it was "an insurance package against catastrophic failure." At the meeting, according to one participant, "there was no serious discussion to going above a trillion dollars."

      I agreed with Krugman's take.  That by going with an under-sized stimulus, the economic boost would be less than needed and so discredit the very idea of a second stimulus.

      •  They knew the tolerance of the senate, (0+ / 0-)

        and if you have a pundit in the new york times making the case, does it have to be in the CEA ir NEC memo?  This is also not really the point, i think krugman argued the stimulus would leave unemployment too high, but i dont know if he challenged the assumptions used for each baseline case.  I dont know if he said no, the numbers wont go under 9 as fast as you say, his argument was 8 percent is still too high.  And it is.  And that doesnt get into that Lizza's piece shows BOTH that the proposal was too small to solve the problem and that congress wouldnt have passed a bigger one.  

        "This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind[.]" -- Robert F. Kennedy

        by Loge on Wed Dec 14, 2011 at 09:01:11 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  No, they never tested it. (9+ / 0-)

          Apologists like yourself always claim they did the maximum and that nothing more was possible.  Yet the actual truth is that they never asked for more.  You have NO WAY OF KNOWING WHAT "THE TOLERANCE OF THE SENATE" WAS.

          This is the fatal logical flaw in your argument.  The same was true of single payer and the public option.  You can't know what the limits are if you don't push them.  You do know what the limit is if you push it vigorously, fail, and have to come back with a revised position that passes.  Obama has NEVER done that.

          The president has a uniquely powerful position to shape debate, yet he has not ever really done so favorably to progressive goals.  Instead, he's chosen moderate conservative positions and gotten most of what he asked for...   So if he's getting what he asked for, why doesn't he ask for more?  After watching this same show many times, the only conclusion left is that he doesn't want more.  He isn't getting what he can get, he is getting what he wants.

          "Money is like manure. You have to spread it around or it smells." J. Paul Getty

          by Celtic Pugilist on Thu Dec 15, 2011 at 12:14:50 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  What he got (0+ / 0-)

            isnt quite so bad, and as for the rest, you simply dont know how congress works and are misrepresenting the presidents record.  They are not low information voters, and even when Obama did make major speeches pushing these issues in public, as he did with the jobs act, it made the issue more political and entrenched the opposition.  Remember, the repubkicans said their goal is to tank the economy to make Obama fail.  The assumption that the stratwgy you propose has no political downside is faukty, and so not pursuing it doesnt indicate anything about actual policy goals.   What Obama has indeed said and that i agree with is that qthe desired policy may differ depending on whether starting from scratch or somewhere else.  And if the ACA down the line leads to single payer, well, good.  Itll partly be because of medicalnloss ratio provisions and community rating provisions the industry doesnt like.  Meanwhile, in the constitutiton, nothing compels congress to spend money it chooses not to spend.  

            "This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind[.]" -- Robert F. Kennedy

            by Loge on Thu Dec 15, 2011 at 06:40:37 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  He did ask for 250 (3+ / 0-)

      more in early in 2010, but it went nowhere.  It was fair to say at that point that you were only going to get one bite at the apple.  

      I do think you can blame Obama for missing the size of the stimulusm and perhaps even more importantly its makeup, which was made up of far too many tax cuts.

      The bitter truth of deep inequality has been disguised by an era of cheap imported goods and the anyone-can-make-it celebrity myth - Polly Toynbee

      by fladem on Wed Dec 14, 2011 at 12:50:54 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I think that you can. (6+ / 0-)

      The truth is that there was a much better approach that they could have taken in negotiating that stimulus whilst maintaining their "fiscal responsibility" credentials.

      That would have been to have established metrics for automatic stimulus money allocation after the core budget was released.  

      So he could have asked for $1.3 Trillion, but set it up so that it was initially $800 billion and on a monthly or quarterly basis the remaining $500 billion would be meted out for roughly 20 months post on an "as needed" basis.  Need for instance would be an unemployment rate at 9% or higher.  If unemployment was not that high, then the money wouldn't be spent - thereby allowing him to keep "fiscal responsibility" credibility as he would have been seen as only spending what was necessary.

      But they just punted and went with the low number instead and that was much more about image and setting up for 2012 than it was about the reality of the economic situation.

    •  Nah, never assume you can go back to the well. (8+ / 0-)

      That's just a general rule.

      Eliminate the Bush tax cuts Eliminate Afghan and Iraq wars Do these things first before considering any cuts

      by kck on Wed Dec 14, 2011 at 03:58:25 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Most people here opposed the second round (0+ / 0-)

      because it was part of a bigger package that included a temporary two year extension of the bush tax cuts.

      The federal reserve's quantitative easing programs were a slo a form of stimulus, and Obama's belated restruxguring of the hamp program would count as maybe round four or five.

      The american jobs act and recent payroll tax proposals are also ideas for an additional stimulus.  

      You mean in 2010, before the election?  Good luck.  Would the ACA have been an acceptible sacrifice, for a very uncertsin outcome?  Remember, the House was too chicken to vote on taxes before the election, a new round of spending would go exactly nowhere.  Oh, i forgot the green jobs bill.  So did the senate.  The dream act would bphave boosted the economy, too.  

      "This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind[.]" -- Robert F. Kennedy

      by Loge on Wed Dec 14, 2011 at 08:56:23 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  you can blame him for pivoting to the deficit too. (5+ / 0-)

      As the world warms, the reigning ideology that tells us it’s everyone for themselves, that victims deserve their fate, that we can master nature, will take us to a very cold place indeed - Naomi Klein

      by mightymouse on Thu Dec 15, 2011 at 05:39:10 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Eh (38+ / 0-)

    A long, informative, well-written apologia for President Obama's failure to push for an even close to large enough stimulus package. Dean Baker was calling for a 3-trillion dollar bill. Other progressive economists called for 2 trillion.
    His own adviser was calling for 1.2. And why didn't President Obama try for more? Well, partly because of his neoliberal concern about deficits.

    TAPPER: Your team has talked about the stimulus package being $675 to $775 billion. But at the same time...you're going to distribute a memo in which economists say it should be between $800 billion and $1.3 trillion. How do you reconcile that difference...?

    OBAMA: Well, we are still in consultation with members of Congress about the final size of the package. We expect that it will be on the high end of our estimates, but [it] will not be as high as some economists have recommended because of the constraints and concerns we have about the existing deficit.

    •  Nope (11+ / 0-)

      I wrote repeatedly that stimulus was too small, including here.

      What I'm suggesting here is that the new data can helped the administration make an even stronger case that:
      a) they saved the U.S. from an economic calamity
      b) the stimulus, though under-sized, worked as designed

      Team Obama has to answer the question: how could you have predicted unemployment would only hit 8 percent with the stimulus?

      Well, this piece is the answer.

      •  Please explain to me the (12+ / 0-)

        distinction you try to draw here:

        So when Obama White House spokesman Jay Carney announced last week that "There was not a single mainstream, Wall Street, academic economist who knew at the time, in January of 2009, just how deep the economic hole was that we were in," voices across the political spectrum rightly took him to task.  But when President Obama lamented Tuesday that his administration "didn't know how bad it was," a look back at the numbers show just how right he was.

        I'm not being flip. I truly don't understand the difference. If people were, as you say, correct in ridiculing Carney's claim that no economists knew how deep the hole was -- they did, of course -- then it follows, doesn't it not, that President Obama should have known as well.

        •  Not sure "know" is the right word (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          inclusiveheart, bnasley, Loge

          Since there were several different projections at the time from various people. We can know in retrospect what happened but we can't know at the moment what the economy will look like over the coming few years.

          I agree that he should have gone with the Krugman version rather than the CBO, but that's not about "should have known" per se but rather "should have made a different judgment based on varying recommendations."

          •  I guess I would say that it is about (7+ / 0-)

            the "what ifs" that they didn't seem to take into account and plan for at the time.

            I remember when Summers was projecting that 8% unemployment was going to be the worst of it and I remember thinking that he reminded me of the airline guy who told me that a hurricane that was in the area of my destination would "depart" at 2am.  The hurricane did not depart on time.  It took a full six hours longer to "depart".  What was my contingency plan?  Well, was was not offered one because the airline told me that they were going to get me there on time and on schedule.  And what did I have to do?  I had to fly and I spent a couple of days in Puerto Rico waiting for the clean up after the hurricane finally did depart.  

            Anyway, that's what Summers reminded me of when he was going around offering up the low ball projections.  They all thought they were being smart by appearing to be fiscally responsible and not creating panic when what they really should have done at the time is talk about how bad it could get and put together meaningful plans - devoid of ideology - that would have helped us all to better cope with the collapse and its effects.

          •  The people who were wrong before (17+ / 0-)

            were wrong about the stimulus.

            The people who were right before were right about the stimulus.

            Which did Obama hire?  Which did he listen to?

            The two things Teabaggers hate most are: being called racists; and black people.

            "It takes balls to execute an innocent man." -- anonymous GOP focus group member on Rick Perry

            by Punditus Maximus on Wed Dec 14, 2011 at 03:28:25 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  PRECISELY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              diffrntdrummr, miningcityguy

              !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

            •  Simpler explanation (0+ / 0-)

              they knew how to get things done, even if they were mot the first best slternstives.  Summers in particular is more libersl sometimes than he's often given credit for, but economic advice that isnt useful political advice is not good economic advice.  This is what the new yorker says is the reason geithner (also less illiberal than assumed) sticks around -- Obama apparently likes that he doesnt waste his time.  

              You knoe, if Obama had wanted to, he could have gotten away with eliminating medicare in the debt ceiling fight, though that mantle goes to occasional progressive hero ron wyden.  Dog that didnt bark . . .

              "This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind[.]" -- Robert F. Kennedy

              by Loge on Wed Dec 14, 2011 at 09:13:30 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I agree that Obama is hard to read. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                dfarrah

                Two facts stand out:

                1) 10 banksters prosecutions, vs. 1,000 S&L prosecutions under HW Bush, and

                2) 9% unemployment as the New Normal, while Obama blathers on about cutting the deficit for a year.

                My theory is that Obama is the kind of incoherent on the economy that most people who haven't rejected Reaganism are.  Supply-side economics is wrong, all the time, no matter what.  But if you grew up with it, if you admire the guy who implemented it, and if you haven't sat down and thought about it, you're gonna implement it in today's economy.

                Obama's problem on the economy is that he thinks he was elected to continue Bush's economic policies.  That's why he rehired Bush's highest economic officer.  But he was elected to roll back 30 years of conservative failure, and he's not willing to accept that.

                The two things Teabaggers hate most are: being called racists; and black people.

                "It takes balls to execute an innocent man." -- anonymous GOP focus group member on Rick Perry

                by Punditus Maximus on Thu Dec 15, 2011 at 08:16:20 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  well, that is your theory (0+ / 0-)

                  but it's not much more than that.  

                  your point two indicates you're reaching for confirmation bias.  

                  As to point one, the origins of the crises were different, which affects incentives.  In one case, it was taking on too much risk because it was otherwise too difficult to attract funding (S&L); in another, it was because it was too easy.  the incentives are different, and it's truly shocking how much of the chain of mortgage origination through securitization can create knowingly toxic products without there actually being a crime committed.   Obama simply happened to be right that most of what wall st. did was immoral but not necessarily illegal -- the crimes largely happened at the lower trenches, in origination and now in foreclosure, and the worst were "non-bank lenders" who originated to distribute, so there's not a strong connection with wall st. unless the underwriters said commit a crime and give me those loans.  they had no reason to do that, just turn a blind eye.  (most shockingly, in most states there is no law that says loans can be made only to people who can pay them back, nor is there a law to require that people who qualify for prime loans are offered them -- ironically, where these laws exist, they are to protect the bank's creditors, so that also opens up regulatory arbitrage even in states where they do have these laws -- based on "pick your regulator," you can make it so state laws don't apply).   the purchasers of mortgage backed securities by and large are not terribly worthy of protection  by criminal law -- these are laws requiring disclosure, and non-disclosure laws are hardly ever prosecuted.  Anyway, i think Goldman, when it paid the half bill fine, could have won that case on loss causation.the Tannin and Cioffi case showed that jurors wouldn't convict money managers who lost money themselves, which was most of them.  As long as a bank had MBS's on the books, that's a very good defense to criminal intent.  Which leaves foreclosures.  Not even state AGs opting out have brought criminal charges, and the basis for potentially settling cases with releases is that (a) there would be money on the table, and (b) foreclosures could proceed in an orderly fashion, which helps stabilize the market.

                  so the bush figure, by not dealing with the particulars that would be at the center of any prosecution, obscures more than it reveals.  if there's a case that can be proved, they should go forward (and have done; see also indictment of a Goldman director and head of McKinsey on insider trading), but it's not clear from the fact that the economy is in terrible shape they can do so.  (Reich, i know, mentioned Sarbox, and there was a serious investigation of Lehman over it's accounting for Repos, but considering that the banks disclosed how leveraged they were, it would be hard to prove materiality of accounting treatment of specific transactions.  That law is designed to protect equity holders, and the case many make is that equity holders should have been completely wiped out.)

                  plus the SEC is completely understaffed; and issues relating to derivatives weren't regulated at all, and the GOP refuses to fund staff of the CFTC who would do so.  A product that isn't regulated to begin with is an unlikely candidate to form the basis of a criminal prosecution.  Schneiderman, perhaps, is welcome to try with the Martin Act, but so far he's talked a big game, only.  As i said, criticize Obama and Holder, but the actual enforcement policies of the supposed alternatives aren't that much different, because the argument you made to launch a political criticism has no real salience in a federal or state court preliminary hearing.

                  "This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind[.]" -- Robert F. Kennedy

                  by Loge on Thu Dec 15, 2011 at 08:47:04 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Yeah, that's the party line. (0+ / 0-)

                    That it's impossible for bankers to commit fraud.

                    I'm sorry, but we have Sarbanes-Oxley now, and a lot of these frauds were committed against deployed military personnel who enjoy greater protections.

                    Look, those were a lot of words, but they come down to the same idea: it is unpossible that Barack Obama, who has presided over the worst economy since the Great Depression, doesn't have good ideas regarding how to manage an economy.  And I can't do much with regard to religious beliefs.

                    The two things Teabaggers hate most are: being called racists; and black people.

                    "It takes balls to execute an innocent man." -- anonymous GOP focus group member on Rick Perry

                    by Punditus Maximus on Thu Dec 15, 2011 at 08:52:26 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  that is again quite the straw man (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      kalmoth

                      if i wanted to say impossible, i would have said impossible.  

                      what i said instead, was that provable criminal fraud on the part of the underwriters of mortgage backed securities was neither necessary to crash the economy and housing markets, nor sufficient to crash the economy and housing markets.  Here, i am not speaking of fraud in a generalized moral sense.  Shady business practices and predation were certainly necessary, and probably sufficient, but predatory lending has been legal for some time -- Obama organized against it, in fact, in his early career.

                      which reminds:  do you really think think thirty years of deregulation (which movement Obama arrested, by the way) had no effect on what is and is not legal at the time?  (no ex post facto laws, here).  Every no action letter by the SEC, every opinion by the OCC or OTS on which the bankers relied is a strong argument against a specific criminal prosecution.  which doesn't make it impossible, but it raises the bar quite a bit, such that it's not the strong piece of evidence that Obama has some secret or not so secret ideology that only you can discern.  if you take away the assumption that prosecutions would be viable because you say so, the argument again becomes completely circular.  

                      i think you object to religious convictions different from yours, not in general.  

                      "This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind[.]" -- Robert F. Kennedy

                      by Loge on Thu Dec 15, 2011 at 09:12:51 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  don't feed the trolls plz n/t (0+ / 0-)
                      •  Not "impossible," (0+ / 0-)

                        unpossible.  It's so inconceivable that the idea cannot even be entertained long enough to be supported or done away with.

                        The two things Teabaggers hate most are: being called racists; and black people.

                        "It takes balls to execute an innocent man." -- anonymous GOP focus group member on Rick Perry

                        by Punditus Maximus on Thu Dec 15, 2011 at 01:51:52 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  i watch the simpsons sometimes too. n/t (0+ / 0-)

                          "This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind[.]" -- Robert F. Kennedy

                          by Loge on Thu Dec 15, 2011 at 02:01:51 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Sigh. (0+ / 0-)

                            It's a reference to Orwell's 1984.

                            The two things Teabaggers hate most are: being called racists; and black people.

                            "It takes balls to execute an innocent man." -- anonymous GOP focus group member on Rick Perry

                            by Punditus Maximus on Thu Dec 15, 2011 at 07:28:57 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Which i also read (0+ / 0-)

                            and murakami's ( a better book).  You also said impossible. Sorry I didn't remember every single example of double speak and went to the more recent and common iteration of the word.

                            "This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind[.]" -- Robert F. Kennedy

                            by Loge on Thu Dec 15, 2011 at 07:50:43 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  The whole point is the reference to thoughtcrime. (0+ / 0-)

                            The most salient point of this discussion was that all of the people involved, not just you, were so unwilling to seriously consider Obama's policy failure surrounding deficit spending during 9% unemployment that y'all simply denied that I said it happened, or that it did happen.  Multiple times.  

                            That's a way bigger deal than any of the details, and it's what brought forth the Orwellian comparison.  It was simply not allowed to bring up a reference to a year of Obama's actions which are not consistent with the "Obama as shining knight" model.

                            The two things Teabaggers hate most are: being called racists; and black people.

                            "It takes balls to execute an innocent man." -- anonymous GOP focus group member on Rick Perry

                            by Punditus Maximus on Fri Dec 16, 2011 at 07:00:51 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  i did no such thing (0+ / 0-)

                            i drew a different conclusion from it.  i don't see who big brother is supposed to be in this analogy -- you you and other people made the case, others felt free not to go along with it.  what's funny is that you seem to think that the notion that Obama is proceeding in good faith and being reasonably effective under difficult circumstances is, too, a thought crime.  i didn't think of Orwell because it did not make any sense to apply an allegory of totalitarianism to what is self-evidently a robust debate.

                            "This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind[.]" -- Robert F. Kennedy

                            by Loge on Fri Dec 16, 2011 at 08:11:19 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  It's not a "thoughtcrime," (0+ / 0-)

                            it's a silly idea that doesn't hold up under scrutiny.

                            And the point of Orwell is that once you get thoughtcrime established, you don't need Big Brother any more.  The oppressed police themselves.

                            The two things Teabaggers hate most are: being called racists; and black people.

                            "It takes balls to execute an innocent man." -- anonymous GOP focus group member on Rick Perry

                            by Punditus Maximus on Fri Dec 16, 2011 at 04:13:36 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  well, we clearly suck at that. (0+ / 0-)

                            is it the metaphor you object to -- it's your metaphor after all -- or just having it turned back on you?

                            "This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind[.]" -- Robert F. Kennedy

                            by Loge on Fri Dec 16, 2011 at 04:15:38 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  It's just meaningless schoolyard taunting. (0+ / 0-)

                            "I know you are but what am I?"

                            Par for the course when trying to discuss Obama's record with his supporters.  It's like discussing dinosaurs with fundies.  We have different things that can't be reasonably questioned.  For me, it's the scientific consensus surrounding radiation and carbon dating.  For them, it's what their pastor says the bible says.  If they come into conflict, they just keep saying, over and over, "But the bible says this," as though it could persuade me.

                            And then they say things like, "For you, science is religion."

                            Same process, same results.  It cannot be questioned that Obama shares your values, so any information which contradicts that idea is simply discarded.  For me, it cannot be questioned that Obama has his own ideas on how to run a country, and they might not be mine.  And any argument which hinges on the idea that Obama must share my beliefs and priorities is discarded.  Because what's the mechanism there?  Why isn't he allowed to disagree with me or you?

                            The two things Teabaggers hate most are: being called racists; and black people.

                            "It takes balls to execute an innocent man." -- anonymous GOP focus group member on Rick Perry

                            by Punditus Maximus on Fri Dec 16, 2011 at 04:22:50 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  i am a dinosaur fundamentalist (0+ / 0-)

                            i don't like these newfangled dinosaurs like birds and lizards.

                            if you want to point me to where i said you should believe something because Obama said it, i'd be curious to read it.  the fact that you don't care for the independent reasons why i think Obama's ultimate conclusions make sense (most of the time) doesn't mean that i don't believe them.  to the extent you think you're reading thru something to get to the root, that they're just smokescreen, you aren't and they're not.  

                            do you mean cannot be questioned "if" Obama shares values?  If you meant to say "that," you're confirming that you're acting based on your own prejudices and discounting evidence.  Obama is free to disagree with me, and sometimes does.  Those examples don't necessarily add up to his having different values.  people differ on how to apply a set of values, and sometimes different values conflict.  the term i've used to describe him most often has been 'reasonable,' and as such, do not provide a  good enough reason to say his values are different from what he says they are.  not all decisions of his i find reasonable, but enough of them are that the point stands.  

                            "This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind[.]" -- Robert F. Kennedy

                            by Loge on Fri Dec 16, 2011 at 04:41:43 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                      •  I don't think anything had "no effect." (0+ / 0-)

                        I think exactly what I said -- that Sarbanes-Oxley is black letter law and that deployed military personnel enjoy entirely different categories of protection than us regular schmucks.

                        Again, it seems to not be possible for you (or the other Obama supporters) on this thread to engage with my statements as written, and I don't think it's because you're trying to twist my words.  I think it's because you know as well as I do what Obama's aggressive protection of bankster fraud means, so you refuse to take it on.

                        Remember, financial frauds are being prosecuted in a general sense at a 20 year low.  This is a big policy decision, a centerpiece of Obama's approach.

                        The two things Teabaggers hate most are: being called racists; and black people.

                        "It takes balls to execute an innocent man." -- anonymous GOP focus group member on Rick Perry

                        by Punditus Maximus on Thu Dec 15, 2011 at 01:55:25 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  i did my best (0+ / 0-)

                          to engage your statements as written.  as i see it, the argument was that there are sufficiently few financial prosecutions to support an inference Obama has an ideological disposition that banks can do no wrong.   I offered an argument as to why i believe there are independent reasons besides ideology to explain this, some based on the notion that there's not an apples-to-jackhammers comparison, others because republicans refuse to fund the investigative agencies.  You responded by sarcastically comparing me to Ralph Wiggum and then repeated your point that there are not many fraud prosecutions.  So, projection?

                          sarbanes-oxley is many things, but "black letter," it is not.  Black letter means a basic elemental proposition of law.  By imposing vicarious liability where there wasn't any at common law makes it the opposite of BLL.  In any event, while the question of liability for signing the financial statements may be clear, the underlying accounting principles in a mark-to-market world involving illiquid assets are anything but.  

                          "This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind[.]" -- Robert F. Kennedy

                          by Loge on Thu Dec 15, 2011 at 02:07:55 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  But as the case of MF Global shows, (0+ / 0-)

                            it doesn't matter how explicit the fraud is, the DOJ will never prosecute using the tools at hand.

                            And that should be the end if the idiotic meme that the Obama Administration is desperately champing at the bit to prosecute bankster fraud, but is restrained by their lack of legal tools.

                            The two things Teabaggers hate most are: being called racists; and black people.

                            "It takes balls to execute an innocent man." -- anonymous GOP focus group member on Rick Perry

                            by Punditus Maximus on Fri Dec 16, 2011 at 08:12:53 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

            •  if he really learned, he'd have hired new people (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Robobagpiper, ggwoman55, dfarrah, wsexson

              people with a record of knowing what they are talking about.

              this apology sounds like election pre-positioning.

              As the world warms, the reigning ideology that tells us it’s everyone for themselves, that victims deserve their fate, that we can master nature, will take us to a very cold place indeed - Naomi Klein

              by mightymouse on Thu Dec 15, 2011 at 05:43:00 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  The Distinction... (4+ / 0-)

          ...I'm trying to drawis that Carney made it sound as if there were no mainstream voices warning that things were much worse. There were.

          But, as you point out, few had the data to quantify the disaster at the time, which is the second part of Carney's (and Obama's entire) claim.

          In any event, if Obama had the data at the time, his position now would be stronger.

        •  But you can't blame Barack (4+ / 0-)

          If he said he didn't know, he didn't know.  Of course, this kind of ignorance doesn't make a president look very good.  

          It does, however, beg the question, what did he do when he found out?  

          Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich: I'm loving it.

          by NyteByrd1954 on Wed Dec 14, 2011 at 03:24:17 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  asdf (10+ / 0-)
        Team Obama has to answer the question: how could you have predicted unemployment would only hit 8 percent with the stimulus?

        The trajectory already boded worse.  The Administration went with the faith that the business of business is not to tank the nation.  It's a leap that was proven wrong.

        Self-interested CEOs intent on preserving their own jobs and bonuses needed to show a profit margin in their company that was as close as possible to an improvement in each quarter.  That's what is expected, demanded by analysts and investors.  When sales were declining as the general populace of consumers feared for its future, the only way to maintain high margins was to cut costs, notably those pesky employees.  It is baked into the current corporate culture that management's motives place it squarely in opposition to the interests of the nation, as next-quarter gains for the one outweigh long-term gains that would come with preserving your consumer base.  We still have not seen from CEOs any acknowledgment of this conflict (because it paints them as unavoidably unpatriotic, even sociopathic); what's more distressing is it hasn't been acknowledged by elected representatives, including the White House.

    •  It's about time... (0+ / 0-)

      I wondered how long it would take for someone to paint him as a neoliberal boogey man.  It's not like the Democratic majority in both chamber of the Capitol had anything to do with it.

      "Math is a theory, so it's not taught in the Bible."

      by lcj98 on Wed Dec 14, 2011 at 12:54:14 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  The memo that went to Obama (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Irixsh

      did NOT contain Romer's request for $1.2 Trillion. See the quote above from the New Yorker: Summers kept Romer's request out of the memo and the discussion.

      It is worth noting that Stiglitz wanted only 20% more at the time (which was less than what Romer had thought necessary).

      I don't remember Barker's suggestion: do you have alink.

      The bitter truth of deep inequality has been disguised by an era of cheap imported goods and the anyone-can-make-it celebrity myth - Polly Toynbee

      by fladem on Wed Dec 14, 2011 at 12:55:26 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  As I say above, I think the importance of (4+ / 0-)

        that memo -- made infamous by that New Yorker piece -- is overstated.

        Interesting, though, that Stiglitiz was calling for a relatively small package. I'll look for the Baker link. I think I recall correctly.

        Anyway, in addition to size, there's the make-up; this one was tax cut heavy -- not the most efficient stimulus.

        •  Why do you think (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          david mizner, Irixsh

          the memo is overstated?  It defined the debate around the stimulus inside the White House. THe book the Confidence Men also auggests it was critical (I am only 47% through it though, according to Kindle). Romer's comments since she left the White House reflect regret that she didn't push back against Summers.

          Virtually everyone missed how bad things were - and of course Krugman has had multiple misses of his own since 2009.

          Really Paul Rosenberg wrote on of the best pieces about the stimulus at the time at Open Left.  

          The bitter truth of deep inequality has been disguised by an era of cheap imported goods and the anyone-can-make-it celebrity myth - Polly Toynbee

          by fladem on Wed Dec 14, 2011 at 01:10:05 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Read Susskind's book (4+ / 0-)

        to understand why Romer's request was changed.

        "I'll believe corporations are people when Texas executes one."

        by Betty Pinson on Wed Dec 14, 2011 at 03:47:24 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  In hindsight, 1.2 trillion vs 1 trillion would (0+ / 0-)

        have made little difference. And they had to cut it to 800 bln anyway to get it passed. And as you're saying pretty much no one with any degree of influence was suggesting 3 trillion. Krugman did say that 2 trillion would be nice but there is no way it would have passed.

    •  If he were neoliberal, (0+ / 0-)

      wouldnt the stimulus be zero?

      The deficit isnt a complete nonissue, but its not clear from the above whether he was discussing politics or policy.  Probably both, but you bolded the wrong part -- consultation with members of congress was key.  The senators werent empty vessels waiting to be filled with legislative proposals.  

      "This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind[.]" -- Robert F. Kennedy

      by Loge on Wed Dec 14, 2011 at 09:05:06 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  This Needs to Be Frontpaged. (0+ / 0-)

    We need the media to catch onto this to help change how people perceive Obama's handling of the economy.

  •  The problem with this is (12+ / 0-)

    that President Obama campaigned from coast-to-coast in 2008. The empirical evidence was there for all to see just how bad the economy was. I expect a presidentail candidate, and especially a candidate as intelligent as Obama, to be a lot more perceptive about what's going on around them. I would also expect him to realize there was a conflict in the numbers he was getting, and what his own 2 eyes were seeing, or should have been seeing. As a sports fan, Obama should know you can't just rely on statistics. You have to see the game. It's easy to lay the blame on a bunch of government agencies, but Obama should have known better. A lot of people here were sceptical of the optomistic reports from those agencies because we knew they were in conflict with what we were experiencing simply walking down the street in our home towns.

    Battleground Wisconsin: Fascism has come to America

    by jhecht on Wed Dec 14, 2011 at 01:06:14 PM PST

  •  time to get some new economists (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    happymisanthropy, Robobagpiper

    As the world warms, the reigning ideology that tells us it’s everyone for themselves, that victims deserve their fate, that we can master nature, will take us to a very cold place indeed - Naomi Klein

    by mightymouse on Wed Dec 14, 2011 at 01:28:10 PM PST

  •  I call BS they didn't know (23+ / 0-)

    Plenty of people were explaining how bad it was.  And we are just now finding out about the trillions of dollars that were given away by the executive branch along with insider information that they hid and lied to congress about.

    They knew damn well and just lied their asses off.

    "Foolproof systems don't take into account the ingenuity of fools."

    by overclocking on Wed Dec 14, 2011 at 01:35:18 PM PST

  •  They are also in the process of revising all the (4+ / 0-)

    housing sold statistics from 2007 on, saying many sales were counted multiple times.  It is much worse than we thought, think, or want to acknowledge.

  •  "Prepared for"? How about "Do something about"? (18+ / 0-)

    That is, what the heck do you mean "We coulda prepared the American people for this if we'd known how bad."

    How about "We could have acted sooner and more vigorously to create positive change and help the American people".

    How distressing that the second sentence doesn't even occur to him.

    This health care system is a moral atrocity. Dr. Ralphdog

    by AllisonInSeattle on Wed Dec 14, 2011 at 02:07:37 PM PST

  •  Incorrect. (5+ / 0-)

    Obama's stimulus was far short of what would have been needed to make up for the GDP decline projected by the CBO in January, 2009.

    This is what Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman said on January 9, 2009:

    Grim as [the CBO] projection is, by the way, it’s actually optimistic compared with some independent forecasts. Mr. Obama himself has been saying that without a stimulus plan, the unemployment rate could go into double digits.

    Even the C.B.O. says, however, that “economic output over the next two years will average 6.8 percent below its potential.” This translates into $2.1 trillion of lost production. “Our economy could fall $1 trillion short of its full capacity,” declared Mr. Obama on Thursday. Well, he was actually understating things.

    To close a gap of more than $2 trillion — possibly a lot more, if the budget office projections turn out to be too optimistic — Mr. Obama offers a $775 billion plan. And that’s not enough.


    I diaried this last week if you want more particulars.

    This is our time. We can do this. We can change the world.

    by Simian on Wed Dec 14, 2011 at 02:15:43 PM PST

  •  I remember a Krugman piece were he stated that (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Irixsh, Loge

    he too misjudged the size and scope of the collapse and his predictions were outliers on the doom side of economic theorists.

  •  I Think Obama is More Right than Carney (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Setsuna Mudo, Supavash

    Clearly they didn't know how bad it was.  That isn't to say they shouldn't have.  And Obama doesn't claim they shouldn't have known better either, which is good.

  •  So if he didn't know, (20+ / 0-)

    is he planning on hiring some of the people who did?

    The two things Teabaggers hate most are: being called racists; and black people.

    "It takes balls to execute an innocent man." -- anonymous GOP focus group member on Rick Perry

    by Punditus Maximus on Wed Dec 14, 2011 at 03:25:32 PM PST

    •  Nailed it. n/t (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Robobagpiper

      “The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser men so full of doubts.” ― Bertrand Russell

      by r fisher on Wed Dec 14, 2011 at 04:48:23 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  No one knew those numbers ould be revised that (0+ / 0-)

      far downward. Yes, some called for a larger stimulus, hich if passable would have been great, but the only comparison is being Triple A and getting a call that someone is in a ditch, and when the tow truck arrives, they find out the car has actually been sucked into the earth.

      There are only 2 things in life I believe about religion: There could be a God and I'm sure as heck not him.

      by Irixsh on Wed Dec 14, 2011 at 05:16:02 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Of course they "didn't know." (2+ / 0-)

    They're all 1 percenters.

    Those who forget the pasta are doomed to reheat it.

    by CarolinNJ on Wed Dec 14, 2011 at 03:52:52 PM PST

  •  So what is it, they didn't know how bad it was or (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shaharazade, happymisanthropy

    ...it was out of their control? Either way, it utterly fails. Failed for Condoleeza Rice and would fail for anyone in a position of responsibility.

    Still we must re-elect Obama.

    The only enduring re-election theme that merits "four more years" (stipulating that there's no reasonable expectation of change) and that is in fact out of Obama's his control and is in fact worse than anyone imagined is the ever increasing and already extreme degree of batshit insanity on the part of the Republicans.

    Eliminate the Bush tax cuts Eliminate Afghan and Iraq wars Do these things first before considering any cuts

    by kck on Wed Dec 14, 2011 at 03:53:03 PM PST

  •  I think I would have started paying attention..... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shaharazade, CarolinNJ, Robobagpiper

    ....when Bush shoveled $700 billion out the door in September 2010.

    A billion given to banks here, a billion given to banks there and pretty soon you are talking real money.

    •  Obama the candidate knew all about that (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NyteByrd1954, Robobagpiper

      as it was happening (it was 2008).  Every detail.  Read Suskind's book, "Confidence Men."  He had a Wall Street mentor who was involved in the highest level negotiations with the banksters and who informed Obama of events as they were unfolding.  This was a primary reason why Obama was able to clean "Mr.-suspending-my-campaign" McCain's clock at the White House meeting with Bush at the time.

  •  What about how bad it IS? (13+ / 0-)

    If the problem back in early 2009 was relying on statistics which did not reveal the extent of the nascent recession, surely relying on them to think things have gotten better is the same mistake.

    The Obama administration still ignores the economists who got it right the first time. It still touts slight improvement in the unemployment rate while ignoring a declining job force and pay.

    I would say that the White House economic advisers didn't know then and don't know now the state of affairs, much less how to effectively deal with the situation.

    •  ... and how likely it is we'll see a repeat. N/T (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bluicebank, RandomNonviolence

      "to gobern dat wicked natur, dat is de pint. You is sharks, sartin; but if you gobern de shark in you, why den you be angel; for all angel is not'ing more dan de shark well goberned." Herman Melville

      by ovals49 on Wed Dec 14, 2011 at 04:15:22 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  They are all free market (10+ / 0-)

      fundies and true believers in globalism that inevitable and too big to fail. The Hamilton Project speech he gave in 2006 is telling. This a Rubin's Chicago Boy think tank. Here's a link. Check out the participants it foreshadows the Third Way, another neoliberal think tank that is the reincarnation of the DLC on steroids.  Of course he know how bad it was but crisis capitalism is a money maker for these guys.

      It was/is The Shock Doctrine in action. The WH CoS was chairman of this think tank as well as the CEO of Chase. How could Obama not know when he was surrounded and work for the savy businessmen who caused it and made a killing off it. Not only did he know how bad it was he did not take the steps to reigh in his cronies.

      'We do not disparage wealth creation in America' Obama said in defense of the insurance CEO's during the health care debacle. I guess even if you destroy the economy and create wealth your doing god's work. He said in this 2006 speech that 'there would be blood' so at least he knew that people globally would resist this unfettered unregulated vicious brand of capitalism. He should at least tell us he feels our pain. Instead were moving ahead with this failed nasty vision of a 21 century new world order.

             

      •  This is the same logic (0+ / 0-)

        that also connects Obama to Bill Ayres.  If the question is that a big stimulus (more than 3% of gdp or thereabouts) needed to be bigger (setting aside issures of congress), the market fundamentslism train has sailed, and that has nothing to do with globalism.  If Obama was trying some shock doctrine notion, either he's doing it wrong or the shock doctrine is really just a collection of family resemblances than an actual doctrine.

        I dont think, though, that Obama was tring to relitigate the size of the stimulus, but rather is saying that based on the underlying assumptions most people agreed woth, internal multipliers and stuff, u employment would have fallen under 9% sooner.  Even the critics didnt really say the internal numbers were off but that if the internal figures are right, there should have been a bigger one.  Didnt realize congress was such a rubber stamp, but there you are.  The thing is, the obstacles did come from the dlc/blue dogs, excluding Obama.  

        "This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind[.]" -- Robert F. Kennedy

        by Loge on Wed Dec 14, 2011 at 09:25:00 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Shaharazade expand this and turn it into a blog. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Robobagpiper, shaharazade

        Thanks for the information.

  •  Who could have known? He did know and was (0+ / 0-)

    fully aware of how bad it was. What he didn't understand or didn't want to is that we needed a much longer, more sustained stimulus in late 09 and early 2010 which involved a direct jobs program. He'll probably not be reelected because of this shortcoming. It's really quite sad.

  •  On the lame scale (5+ / 0-)

    "we didn't know" is about a 9.5.  Better to just not say anything.

  •  I looked into this claim & I agree (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Loge

    First of all, the exercise is like trying to read the future in a crystal ball. These are educated guesses but not something anyone can look up in a book somewhere. With that process comes a higher level of errors - as anyone who tries to predict the future would encounter.

    I reviewed the CBO's (an independent body of the Administration) report of late Jan 2009 when they evaluated the pending stimulus. Things turned out worse than they forecast. In that report, they also considered other expert opinions - very reputable ones.

    Then when Obama went to get stimulus money (based upon an inaccurate but all we had forecast) that wouldn't be enough because of the inaccurate forecast, the GOP chopped the stimulus even more and pushed for tax cuts when other types of stimulus would produce a better bang for the buck to employ people.

    The GOP had access to all the economists Obama did and their own. Why weren't they screaming "it's going to be worse than Obama claims!!" back then if they were truly looking out for America and knew better. But they didn't.

    As I've mentioned before, there are two basic ways countries create wealth:
    1. Dig it out of the ground
    2. Add value by creating products and services
    and sell more of it to other countries than it buys.

    Since Reagan's years, the US had bought $6 trillion more than it sold. Although US labor is very productive, world wide labor rates are that much cheaper. So the jobs got farmed out with free trade deals by a government that didn't do the things it needed to do to help manage the transition to a modern economy while protecting the country's interests, intellectual property, etc.

    As that unfolded and was unchecked, this horrific economy was inevitable - but nobody knew exactly when or precisely how bad. And it won't be truly corrected until the previous paragraph gets addressed.

    From Audacity of Hope, through the campaign to the present day, Barack Obama has stated many times over that he understands the problem and he's got some good ideas on what can practically be done about it. He's needs a congress that will stop the nonsense and get to work on it.

    I realize some are not entirely pleased with the job Obama has done but I see no chance of this getting addressed by the GOP. The GOP want to thump the middle class into providing them with cheap labor again.

    In 11 months or so, you get to make another choice on which way you're going to go on this. If you're not interested in the GOP non-solution, you'd better get to work now. It's going to be a tough election.

    •  Pardon me (9+ / 0-)
      He's needs a congress that will stop the nonsense and get to work on it.

      He had that Congress in from January 2009 through December 2010.  

      In 11 months or so, you get to make another choice on which way you're going to go on this. If you're not interested in the GOP non-solution, you'd better get to work now. It's going to be a tough election.

      Poor Barack.  Let's hope we voters don't fail him.  We don't want to confuse him with another Democratic Congress.  He might take a misstep and renew the Bush tax cuts.  

      Hey, wait a minute.  

      Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich: I'm loving it.

      by NyteByrd1954 on Wed Dec 14, 2011 at 05:05:21 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  "He had that Congress in from January 2009 through (0+ / 0-)

        December 2010."

        Not from what I followed. To "have congress" these days with the GOP, you need 60+ votes in the Senate to overcome the routine filibuster and the Blue Dogs.

        Your claim sounds nice but in practice all the desired legislation most Dems wanted got watered down in the Senate in order to get it passed.

        •  It is not a claim. (6+ / 0-)

          It is a fact.  The Democrats had overwhelming majorities in both of Congress and had a Democratic president in the White House.  

          Only during the Obama administration was this considered not good enough to pass the party agenda.  

          Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich: I'm loving it.

          by NyteByrd1954 on Wed Dec 14, 2011 at 07:16:37 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes, because of un precedented republican (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            cleduc2, Supavash

            filibusters.  

            "This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind[.]" -- Robert F. Kennedy

            by Loge on Wed Dec 14, 2011 at 09:18:38 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Absolutely (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Supavash

              Between something like 1920 and 1970 there were 50 filibusters. They gradually increased from there. But it's grown exponentially since Obama took office. In less than two years of Obama there were about 140 filibusters. Almost nothing could get done without overcoming a filibuster during Obama's term and that is unprecedented.

              In past sessions, a simple majority and some reasonable bipartisan effort could get the nation's business done in the Senate. Now, to have an equivalent majority to overcome the filibuster, you need 60 senators aligned.

              Nearly two years after being elected 190 presidential nominees still hadn't been confirmed .. because of the filibuster and GOP tactics.

              This is a disgrace where the minority can dictate shutting down the government unless they get their way, etc.

              The notion that having a simple majority of Senators would allow Obama to get anything done without significant compromise is a massively ignorant one.

              •  There was one real filibuster (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                marty marty, cslewis, dfarrah, Teiresias70

                There has been one real filibuster during Obama's term in office.  That was by Bernie Sanders last December when Obama made the Bush tax cuts for millionaires the Obama tax cuts for millionaires.  

                So please correct your false narrative.  Obama capitulated in the face of threats of filibusters and not real filibusters.  

                Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich: I'm loving it.

                by NyteByrd1954 on Thu Dec 15, 2011 at 04:39:54 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  I call bullshlit (0+ / 0-)

              There was real one filibuster and that was by Bernie Sanders in response to Obama's crap deal last December.  Which, by the way is biting Obama in the ass now.  Of course everyone saw that coming except the "eleventy dimensional chessmaster" in the Oval office.  

              New capitulation on the way in 5. 4, 3, ...............

              It's the Obama way in the face of threats of filibusters.  

              Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich: I'm loving it.

              by NyteByrd1954 on Thu Dec 15, 2011 at 04:37:20 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Why then did it take more than 60 votes to pass (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Loge

                things like:
                Recovery Act 61-36
                Affordable Health Care Act  60–39
                Banking and financial services regulation 60-39
                Last two debt limit increases required 60 votes with GOP voting 40 times against
                etc.

                Because the Dems were forced by the GOP to get 60 votes rather than a simple majority.

                •  Why? (0+ / 0-)

                  Because the GOP figured out early on that Obama was the perfect stooge and would do anything for a deal.  

                  Next question.  

                  There was only one real filibuster and that was by Bernie Sanders last December.   The GOP could get Obama to capitulate with only threat of a filibuster.  

                  Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich: I'm loving it.

                  by NyteByrd1954 on Thu Dec 15, 2011 at 11:45:54 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

            •  The filibuster can be eliminated with a majority (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Throw The Bums Out

              vote, mid-session. It's been done before.

              That's where party discipline comes in.

              Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

              by Robobagpiper on Thu Dec 15, 2011 at 06:26:25 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Then I assume you find the filibuster unacceptable (0+ / 0-)

              as it has thwarted Obama and the D's agenda since day 1.

              Do you advocate elimination or at least reform?

              If nothing is done to even reform it, say, go back to an actual real filibuster with cots on the Senate floor, reading from the dictionary, etc., which can be done by 50 plus Joe Biden, will you still claim that the Dems are simply a victim of it?

              That's where we really see what the D's in the Senate want...if they want to govern, the filibuster must be dealt with.

              •  i supported Harkin's proposal (0+ / 0-)

                which would reduce the number of votes for cloture after a certain number of hours for debate.  The trouble is enough dems want, not unreasonably, to have that option in case of a republican president.  others just want the power.

                "This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind[.]" -- Robert F. Kennedy

                by Loge on Thu Dec 15, 2011 at 03:28:20 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  So, if NOTHING is done to change the filibuster, (0+ / 0-)

                  which is within the power of the dems in the Senate, will you still claim to be a victim of it?

                  •  How it's done matters (0+ / 0-)

                    i support pressuring vulnerable goopers and wavering deems to vote for cloture.  I never used and wouldn't use the term victim, but the issue affects you to the same degree.  I think the primary issue is how the republicans have chosen to abuse the rules, not simply the rules themselves.  Obama's an entire step removed.  Nb: he used the filibuster itself, including in judicial noms

                    "This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind[.]" -- Robert F. Kennedy

                    by Loge on Thu Dec 15, 2011 at 04:32:56 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  If the issue is the abuse of rules that thereby (0+ / 0-)

                      make it impossible to govern, and the rules can be, at a minimum, modified by the D's to break the logjam or at least make it much more difficult to mount a successful filibuster, then the rules themselves really ARE the issue.

                      I simply don't believe a narrative that blames the filibuster, when it can be very easily changed.

                      I'm not even talking about elimination.  Just reform to make a filibuster what it was originally intended to be...very difficult and undertaken only in the most extreme cases.

                      If there is no effort to even reform it, the D's have no standing to complain about it.

  •  Clueless beyond belief. Anyone that had a (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sunspots, oldhippie, Celtic Pugilist

    rudimentary knowledge of economics knew exactly where the economy was and still is.  That is why we will never elect a law professor/community organizer ever again.  

    •  Find me a single economist who stated (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Loge, FG

      that the 4th q 2008 number would be revised down 5% and Mitt will give you 10K.  That's why we shouldn't read comments from intellectually challenged posters like yourself. Never again.

      There are only 2 things in life I believe about religion: There could be a God and I'm sure as heck not him.

      by Irixsh on Wed Dec 14, 2011 at 05:35:59 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Truth really hurts when you have to look in the (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Celtic Pugilist

        mirror.   The 4th quarter is meaningless the picture is very clear.  Incompetence breeds  incompetence.  

        •  Krugman has a blog post (0+ / 0-)

          where he reviewed what he said in Jan 2009 and acknowledged unemloyment was higher than he thought it was going to be.

          As this blog points out, Krugman underestimated unemployment
          http://consultingbyrpm.com/...
          "Suppose that we’re looking at an economy that, absent stimulus, would have an average unemployment rate of 9 percent over the next two years; this plan would cut that to 7.3 percent, which would be a help but could easily be spun by critics as a failure"
          And Krugman did a blog that reviewed his predictions that acknowledged in part that unemployment was worse than he projected in 2009

          Then you have to consider this:
          Krugman "6 Jan 2009 – Since it takes $300 billion to reduce the unemployment rate by 1 percentage point" for a year ($600 billion for the two year Recovery Act)

          What are the chances Obama could have gotten $1.387 trillion for the recovery act? Zero. No way was the GOP going to give Obama enough money to deal with the problem because if they did, their #1 objective would be lost: to defeat him in 2012.

          To over come the filibuster, after very contentious debate, etc, the Senate voted 61-36 with two abstaining to approve the Recovery Act.

          •  More spending was never the answer, the (0+ / 0-)

            fundamentals were invisible to the admin, they just did not and still do not understand basic economics.

            •  Is that why the vast, vast majority of (0+ / 0-)

              economists strongly recommended substantial stimulus spending? Because economists don't understand basic economics?

              Again, your claims don't line up with the reality of what happened.

              Economists agree: Stimulus created nearly 3 million jobs
              http://www.usatoday.com/...

              CNN Money:
              Second stimulus not needed - survey
              August 31, 2009
              76% of respondents polled by the National Association for Business Economics say the government should cut spending over next two years.

              An increasing number of economists agree with the government's response to the recession, saying they believe the economy is on the road to recovery, according to a survey released Monday.
              http://money.cnn.com/...

      •  Jobs data in late 08 was like jumping off a (0+ / 0-)

        cliff. The country and economy had been in free fall for at least four months when Obama took over. Don't rewrite history.

        When the first stimulus didn't lower unemployment, Obama failed to propose a direct jobs program that would have cost $100 bil. and employed 3 million people. His failure to act later in 09 when Dems controlled Congress has sealed his fate today. And he might lose the election because of his failure (and Congress) to be bolder when they saw the DATA and KNEW it.

  •  Obama's Bad Judgment (16+ / 0-)

    The problem I have with this concerns Obama's judgment. There were competing voices. The ones that he chose to listen too, though, had a recent history of being exactly wrong during crunch time.

    He chose to listen to the exact same people who got it flat out wrong when it came to the Real Estate bubble and chose to ignore those who got it right. Bernanke, "I dont' accept your premise. Nothing like that has ever happened before." Summers shouting down Rajan at Jackson Hole, ignoring Roubini etc.

    These guys, whose job it is to accurately gauge our economic climate, couldn't have been more incorrect.

    It's the equivalent of going to your doctor for a check up and saying, "Hey Doc, another doctor I know told me that I should quit smoking cigarettes because it causes cancer" and him replying, "What? Everything looks good. Smoke away. That other doctor is an idiot." And then going back to that same doctor for advice after you'd been diagnosed with lung cancer as a result of his previous shitty advice!

    It's pure insanity and his credibility is shot as far as his judgment goes.

    My two cents anyway...

    “The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser men so full of doubts.” ― Bertrand Russell

    by r fisher on Wed Dec 14, 2011 at 04:42:15 PM PST

  •  The real problem is... (4+ / 0-)

    That he and they still don't know how bad it is.If they really did, all of these half-hearted pre-cave in type of  bullshit negotiating tactics (or lack thereof) wouldn't still be the norm.Call out the obstructionism for what it is and let the chips fall where they may. This weak kneed politics of capitulation under the guise of compromise is fooling no one and pissing off most people that still have a brain.

  •  We didn't know how bad it was...until it was over! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mightymouse

    We didn't know how bad it was...until it was over?
    now I call that bad timing...

    Nudniks need not apply.

    by killermiller on Wed Dec 14, 2011 at 05:12:06 PM PST

  •  Most of the comments to this sadden me (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rmr 87, oldhippie, Loge, FG, Supavash

    No one knew GDP had dropped over 8% right as he got there, which is basically a push completely over a cliff. Almost everyone knew it as bad, but over 8% isn't bad, it's pretty much jump out the window bad. They got the largest stimulus in the history of the country, unfortunately they had to pull in Lieberman, Nelson, Snowe, Specter, so they stopped the bleeding, which is amusing to hear spun into the revionist BS it is here in the comments. And yeah, he should have "let the chips fall here they may" on the Bush tax cuts, of course, those millions of people who ended up not being able to eat because they didn't get a UI extension should just understand. Damn him for putting the needs of the most vulnerable over the needs of his support of people who sound like they missed the economics part of their econ classes. The fact there is a comment here recc'd over 20 times that would be far better served at RedState for its revisionist BS saddens anyone who doesn't believe this is a game.

    There are only 2 things in life I believe about religion: There could be a God and I'm sure as heck not him.

    by Irixsh on Wed Dec 14, 2011 at 05:12:37 PM PST

    •  You are in the same denial as Obama (5+ / 0-)

      Many of us did know it was this bad--if not the precise numbers we recognized the severity, with some fearing it was even worse.  Hell, I pulled all of my money out  of the market a year earlier when the first rumblings of credit crisis began to hit.  (And I was preparing to pull my money out of deferred comp, ready to take the tax penalty hit to convert it to cash.  I stopped when they backstopped money market and other funds...I was in preparation for an outright deflationary depression, and was hoping to be one of the first out before the run started.)  The only reason it appears revisionist to you is because you didn't have any better grasp of what was happening than Obama.

      "Money is like manure. You have to spread it around or it smells." J. Paul Getty

      by Celtic Pugilist on Wed Dec 14, 2011 at 10:25:23 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm with you (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dfarrah, Celtic Pugilist

        I, too, pulled out of the market about a year earlier and started shorting financials. The crash turned out to be very, very good to me, personally, and I tried at the time to encourage all my friends to do the same. Unfortunately, they thought it would be shallow and temporary.

      •  That's a pretty absurd statement (0+ / 0-)

        It's revisionist because the numbers were what they were and taking at face value, stated what they stated. I never stated what I believed, so the last sentence you make is just BS, although I will tell you I never believed our government in 2008 was ever going to react as slowly as they did during the Bear/Lehman/WaMu/Wachovia disasters. I broke pretty much even, so I have no complaints other than people blaming people for believing the numbers they were provided before they were able to prove them wrong.

        There are only 2 things in life I believe about religion: There could be a God and I'm sure as heck not him.

        by Irixsh on Thu Dec 15, 2011 at 05:55:58 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Anyone stupid/deluded enough to take those numbers (0+ / 0-)

          at face value as you claim had no business making economic plans for this country.  I suppose they also took the National Assoc. of Realtors' numbers and projections at face value as well???  Again, only someone complete unaware of the housing cycle (perhaps the best studied historically) would do that.

          And they knew things were worse, which is why they were shielding the banks from scrutiny.  They understood that if folks knew how badly overleveraged the major investment banks were, they would all collapse...with nobody left to pay Goldman Sachs.  

          I can appreciate that they had to do this latter part to prevent collapse, but the flip side should have been to strip any profit away from the derivatives end and drive a stake through it's bloodsucking heart.   That hasn't happened, and instead they paid GS's bets against a system GS had rigged.

          "Money is like manure. You have to spread it around or it smells." J. Paul Getty

          by Celtic Pugilist on Thu Dec 15, 2011 at 08:17:45 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  A lot of people (0+ / 0-)

      are sad.  After all, they lost their jobs and homes due to BO's lack of political will.

      But you just go ahead and be sad for BO.

      The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

      by dfarrah on Thu Dec 15, 2011 at 09:40:04 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  "It's not my fault" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sunspots, mightymouse

    Isn't a winning (much less inspiring) slogan... he had three years, he made a lot of promises, got several major initiatives to improve the economy. To now say we didn't know how bad it was is whining.

  •  How can they say that? (5+ / 0-)

    they were telling us that without TARP, the economy would collapse utterly.  How can they simultaneously believe that things are on the brink of unimaginable disaster, but also not really that bad?

    If you don't watch out, your job will become one Americans won't do.

    by happymisanthropy on Wed Dec 14, 2011 at 05:19:16 PM PST

    •  He never said he didn't know they were bad (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rmr 87, Loge

      What he is saying is he didn't know TARP was completely ineffective in keeping the economy off the cliff, and a revision up from down 3.8% to almost 9% they finally settled on pretty much proves that fact.

      There are only 2 things in life I believe about religion: There could be a God and I'm sure as heck not him.

      by Irixsh on Wed Dec 14, 2011 at 05:23:20 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  It is not simply about "how bad they thought (0+ / 0-)

      it was going to be."

      It was all about "how much" they could get to try to deal with it. There was no way the GOP had any intention of giving Obama enough money to fix they economy. If they did, they'd guarantee his 2012 election.

      Obama's report proposing the Recovery Act said "These estimates, like the aggregate ones, are subject to substantial margins of error." Krugman acknowledged considerable guessing going on at the time as well. Many, many people did. It's crystal ball stuff. We simply didn't know for sure.

      With the legitimate uncertainty, an arrangement to throw some money at it with the provision that more could be thrown later at if worse numbers came to pass would make logical sense - because of the uncertainty/"substantial margins of error" stated with the guesstimates. But with the congressional setup, you couldn't get a rational deal like that to stick unless the same parties remained in power beyond the first two years. The GOP had no intention of allowing something like that. No chance.

      •  Dems controlled both Houses through 2010. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Robobagpiper, dfarrah

        I guess you forgot that one.

        •  In name only. Nt (0+ / 0-)

          "This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind[.]" -- Robert F. Kennedy

          by Loge on Wed Dec 14, 2011 at 09:27:52 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Because they are so many, many caucuses in the (0+ / 0-)

            Democratic party and they are not unified.  They don't work as a coordinated body.  Everybody gets to do their own thing.

          •  Just like President Obama. n/t (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            dfarrah
            •  you're proud of that one, i bet. n/t (0+ / 0-)

              "This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind[.]" -- Robert F. Kennedy

              by Loge on Thu Dec 15, 2011 at 08:47:26 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  What makes the others DINOs but not Obama one? (0+ / 0-)
                •  what makes Obama a DINO? (0+ / 0-)

                  it's your claim -- i shouldn't have to refute it if you can't bother to justify it.  i'd simply note all the democrats who vote with republicans on Obama's signature bills, especially on procedural votes like cloture, positioned themselves to the right of Obama while maintaining the benefits of democratic party membership.  ideologically, Obama's about the middle of the democratic party.  That's not as left as you might like, but it's still left of center for the nation as a whole, and that's not a bad position for the President facing reelection in a country, which contains swing states that recently elected Pat Toomey, Rob Portman, Ron Johnson, and Marco Rubio to the senate, and barely missed electing Sharron Angle.

                  "This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind[.]" -- Robert F. Kennedy

                  by Loge on Thu Dec 15, 2011 at 09:18:44 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  "Middle of the Democratic Party" is decidedly (0+ / 0-)

                    not "left of center" by any measure, except a partisan's.

                    And you are the one who made the original claim regarding DINOs, not me. Nice try, though.

                    •  gee, if only we had elections (0+ / 0-)

                      then we could see about where the midpoint is in terms of who gets elected.

                      i didn't make the claim obama was a dino, i made the claim that people who vote with republicans are dinos.  i don't see how that's a "gotcha."

                      "This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind[.]" -- Robert F. Kennedy

                      by Loge on Thu Dec 15, 2011 at 02:59:31 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

    •  i'm afraid that TARP was just the listick on a (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      marty marty, Robobagpiper, dfarrah

      very ugly pig.
      behind the TARP negotiations, bernanke and the FED realized something was very wrong.
      excerpts from the FED audit.

      "From late 2007 through mid-2010, Reserve Banks provided more than a trillion dollars… in emergency loans to the financial sector to address strains in credit markets and to avert failures of individual institutions believed to be a threat to the stability of the financial system,"
      my emphasis added
      The emergency loans included eight broad-based programmes, and also provided assistance for certain individual financial institutions
      my emphasis added

      go back and look at the chart titled Change in Real GDP. in late 2007, as GDP was beginning to decline and just before the precipitous drop in early 2008, the FED was already making trillions of dollars available to the banks. (16 trillion through 2010 )

      bernanke knew in real time, that the economy and the banks were about to fall off a cliff. are we to believe that this information was not provided to the president?

      There is a crime here that goes beyond denunciation. There is a sorrow here that weeping cannot symbolize. There is a failure here that topples all our success. Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck

      by dear occupant on Wed Dec 14, 2011 at 10:50:48 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  it's all Obama's fault! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cleduc2, Loge

    what about the reluctant, ridiculous Congress?
    yeah but he could've REALLY negotiated!  I mean...like REALLY!  I could've made Joe Lieberman, Evan Bayh, and Ben Nelson agree!  I would've used the power of my office to threaten them!  I AM A REAL PROGRESSIVE!

    but he did do that just to get the unprecedented $857 billion stimulus through.  The largest in history, twice as large as anyone thought was possible (not necessary...possible).  What then?
    He didn't listen to me or Paul Krugman!  Gah HE MUST BE A HORRIBLE PERSON!

    i wish things were different but why do you feel so smug about casting all blame on President Obama when there are dozens of other places to more legitimately, more effectively direct your anger?
    I criticize anyone when it's legitimate.  I'm not some sheep, MAN, who buys into the party line, MAN.  Obama doesn't own me!  I AM A REAL PROGRESSIVE!  I'm not smug!  I USE THE INTERNET TO AFFECT CHANGE!!

    ugh, I criticize Obama too, but damn, it's all relative. when do you ever criticize the GOP, the media, Wall Street, Conservadems....
    I AM A REAL PROGRESSIVE.  Obama makes me haz most sad.  He should've listened to ME and passed a bigger stimulus!  GRHAHSADSKSDSASDAAA!!!

    [repeat]

  •  He knew how bad it was .... (6+ / 0-)

    He was hoping that the Republican-lite economic policies would have enough lipstick to cover this pig of an economy.

    It's the same beltway faith that let some Dems to support the Iraqi Invasion because they believed that even Bush couldn't fuck that up ... and lo and behold, history has repeated; Beltway faith doesn't work.

  •  Never spoke to someone who lost their home. (4+ / 0-)

    Too bad POTUS is in the bubble.  Surrounded by banksters and hedge fund managers.  Capable of great sound bites then back to playing with his drones.  What a disappointment.

  •  Republished to Econ Kos. (0+ / 0-)

    An Eleanor, not Franklin, Roosevelt Democrat.

    by Nulwee on Wed Dec 14, 2011 at 07:01:22 PM PST

  •  Brad DeLong (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Loge, Fury, dfarrah

    (self-described neoliberal Democrat, chair of the political economy major at UC Berkeley, served in the Treasury Dept. under Clinton) had a post on his blog the other day, listing eleven things that he says he has gotten "really, really wrong" in his career, and saying "I Should Make This an Annual Observance".

    Some of his self-confessed mistakes:

    2. My belief that large, leveraged financial institutions had sufficient caution and sufficient control over their derivatives books that their derivative positions did not pose major systemic risk.

    4. My belief that closer economic integration between Mexico and the U.S. would be, while a rough ride for Mexico, a clear net plus for Mexico.

    5. My belief that economists as a group understood as much about the causes of recessions and depressions as John Stuart Mill understood in 1829: that a downturn is a shortfall of planned spending at full employment below income caused by an excess demand for financial assets, and it is cured by either (a) having the government do the spending-in-excess-of-income that the private sector will not, or (b) having the government flood the zone with financial assets so that there is no longer an economy-wide excess demand for them.

    6. My belief that pushing neoliberal, market-opening reforms on countries like Argentina in the 1990s was not a policy as wise as giving a supply of gasoline to a bunch of pyromaniacs.

    8. My belief that the 6% unemployment NAIRU of the U.S. in the 1970s and 1980s would continue into the 1990s and 2000s.

    11.My belief that no advanced country government with as frayed a safety net as America would tolerate even near-double digit unemployment for years.
    .

    We decided to move the center farther to the right by starting the whole debate from a far-right position to begin with. - Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay

    by denise b on Wed Dec 14, 2011 at 07:01:49 PM PST

  •  Completely out of touch with the lives (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    StevenJoseph, dfarrah

    of most Americans. That's how come ya didn't know. Too much time spent with too many rich people with a political agenda.

  •  the pivot to the deficit was the big problem - and (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mightymouse

    sort of puts a lie some of what was said here.  In 2010, for almost entirely political reasons (or not: he seems far more enthusiastic about entitlement "reform" than stimulus, though his jobs bill is undeniably a positive notion), the administration washed its hands of the unemployment and shifted to the deficit, such tone deafness.

    Let's just be happy that the GOP is parading around such loons as presumed campaign frontrunners.

    •  At that point it didn't matter. No serious (0+ / 0-)

      stimulus was going to pass after 2010 election.

      •  As a matter of policy, you are right - but as a (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        FG, dfarrah

        matter of advancing ideas to the public sphere, it is relevant.  And unemployment and demand did not stop being the real problems.  The inability or unwillingness to draw such distinctions creates a serious credibility gap.  While it is easy to see that the GOP will not be your avenging angel here - it would be so much easier to sell a campaign of ideas besides "well, i'm not THEM"

  •  Health Care Reform... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    fearlessfred14

    I thought that he should have dropped this like a hot potato and used his massive (at the time) political capital to institute another New Deal.  He really wasn't running as an economic reformer, he was running to do a big thing that had been needing doing for a long time, health care reform.  And he was unable to switch gears as he should have, in my opinion.

    •  Health care reform is a jobs bill (0+ / 0-)

      Over the medium to long term.  Anyway, what makes you think a second new deal would happen?  The new deal anyway included permanentish expansion or creation of safety net provisions.

      "This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind[.]" -- Robert F. Kennedy

      by Loge on Wed Dec 14, 2011 at 09:31:05 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  In what way? (0+ / 0-)

        In what sense is this a jobs bill?  I've heard the argument that by lowering costs to business it encourages hiring.  This is just like the argument that lowering taxes encourages hiring.  What actually encourages hiring is consumer demand.  

        A permanentish expansion and creation (or re-creation) of safety net provisions sounds great to me.  

        A little protectionism wouldn't hurt either.

  •  DISinformation, not mere misinformation (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Fury

    Avenging Angel,

    Good work. Nicely edited.

    I would only quibble with your attribution of misinformation, "But the perception problem, aided and abetted by myth-making and misinformation from his Republican opponents, remains"  which is correctly called DISINFORMATION.

    Every American needs to learn that the GOP and their fellow travelers are using Soviet disinformation practices to sow known false information leading to distrust.  They need to know the communists did this and that the GOP has employed the identical methods.

  •  Well, DUH, other conservatives were wrong too! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    StevenJoseph

    That's what he gets for surrounding himself with economic conservatives.

    He didn't do enough, so we are stuck in this malaise.  Only half the job was attempted--halting (more likely delaying) the collapse.  Worse than that (for him) is that he lost credibility with the public by trying to blow rosy smoke up our asses about the state of the economy when we all knew better.  He could have/should have been using the sad state of the economy as a cudgel against conservatives to do more, not less but that would run counter to his supply siding style.  Instead he embraced conservative ideas and branded the smartest folks (Krugman/Stiglitz/Volcker, not ever allowed in the room) and those who echoed them as "the professional left."  

    "Money is like manure. You have to spread it around or it smells." J. Paul Getty

    by Celtic Pugilist on Wed Dec 14, 2011 at 10:12:39 PM PST

  •  I said it then and I will say it again.... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dfarrah

    The goal is not to bring your adversaries to their knees but to their senses. -- Mahatma Gandhi

    by Mindmover on Wed Dec 14, 2011 at 11:33:56 PM PST

  •  the wingnuts who call it a "failed stimulus" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    StevenJoseph

    are even more wrong - they said it was too big and never should have been done.  Yet it failed for exactly the opposite reason - it was too small and too focused on idiotic and ineffective tax cuts.

  •  So, THIS is the true Bush legacy... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    marty marty, Supavash

    ...running over the economy with a truck.

    Thanks so much, Dick and Friends.

    Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

    by a gilas girl on Thu Dec 15, 2011 at 04:09:24 AM PST

  •  At this point it is fair to say that Obama will (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    protectspice

    say anything and everything just to get elected. This guy appears to have no principles. I guess Suskind was right, Obama went into office completely clueless and just let those who created the crisis profit from it.

  •  I Get it, However, We Know NOW (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    StevenJoseph

    1.) Obama has recently stated (I believe in the 60 Minutes interview) something like "the problem developed over the last two decades, and won't be quickly resolved".

    2.) Obama and everyone else knew some time ago the recession was much worse than anticipated, yet the response of Obama and congress has been weak. They continue to dawdle and wait for the private sector to get us out of the ditch, when clearly that is not going to happen.

    Thus the spinning in this diary doesn't hold much, if any, water. Our government HAS to respond much more boldly to urgent matters; they are not doing so.

    Back to point 1: Obama let the cat out of the bag with that one-- the problem actually goes back further than two decades.. but the point is we have a major systemic/structural problem with wealth distribution in the U.S., and that is one more problem not being addressed by Obama and congress.

    "I don't feel the change yet". Velma Hart

    by Superpole on Thu Dec 15, 2011 at 06:06:18 AM PST

  •  How is "the smartest guy in the room" consistently (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    vacantlook, StevenJoseph, dfarrah, wsexson

    behind bloggers on his understanding of the country?

    Perhaps he should be retitled "the smartest guy in the bubble".

    Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

    by Robobagpiper on Thu Dec 15, 2011 at 06:11:50 AM PST

  •  All of the things that the Left said about (4+ / 0-)

    this administration's catastrophic economic decisions have turned out to be true. From his presciently devastating choice of economic advisers to the thorough mis-management of TARP to the inadeqiate size and inappropriate composition of the stimulus to the implausibility of going back for a second stimulus to the real extent and import of unemployment to the lack of leadership on expansive financial regulatory form and lack of pursuing bankster accountability to the out-of-control Fed slush fund to the disastrousness of allowing the widespread, nefarious handling of foreclosures...

    As with the Republicans predictions on the Iraq War, the centrists GOT IT ALL WRONG.

    But, as with the Republicans, no point holding our breath for admissions of overwhelming, cataclsymical wrongness.

    To the contrary, if Obama does somehow manage to lose in 2012, the centrists will have the termerity to blame the Left for it. They are already ginning that little maneuver up...

  •  He should have known how bad it was. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    StevenJoseph, ozsea1

    BECAUSE WE WERE TELLING HIM HOW BAD IT WAS.

    But of course, that would require listening to the people who have been right almost every single time since 2000.

  •  Nice try. I don't buy it for a second. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    StevenJoseph, dfarrah, ozsea1

    I knew. My sister knew. We are not economists. I was 66 at the time and she was 56.

    The writing was all on the wall at the time in 2008 and 2009.

    Every time I heard the president talk back in 2009 so optimistically I shuddered thinking, this is going to come back and BITE HIM! It's ridiculous to set expectations so high because it will take years to get out of this Republican hole.

    But no, he did not listen and did not realize. Why? Was he too inexperienced or just wanting to believe it wasn't so bad. Of course data may now say things were worse than many thought, but there was LOTS of data showing it was BAD then. It WAS knowable.

    It appeared to be stupid then not to place people's expectations lower but I always thought he was trying to psych up the market and really knew it was much worse than he was saying. Nope. He did not know. He just played it all wrong.

    But it sucks that I was right and he was wrong. It should not be like that!!!!!

    "extreme concentration of income is incompatible with real democracy.... the truth is that the whole nature of our society is at stake." Paul Krugman

    by Gorette on Thu Dec 15, 2011 at 08:06:56 AM PST

  •  That's what happens when you shut out the left. (0+ / 0-)

    Obama surrounded himself with Wall Street insiders, conservadems, and "business as usual" supporters.  He has not once asked the opinion of a "liberal" or even a REAL moderate on ANY issue.  Of course they were all saying everything is fine, Wall Street didn't wreck things that badly.  Don't raise taxes or spend too much on infrastrucutre.  

    Meanwhile, once again, the liberal base was told by the White House camp to sit down and shut up if they aren't going to blindly support everything the president does.  

    We will see how well that strategy works for them in 2012 when they are once again trying to excite the base and regain the 2010 level of excitement they've lost.   I have no doubt Obama will win comfortably, but what will happen to the party at the Congress and Senate levels?  What will the voter turnout be in 2012 compared to 2010 or even 2008?

  •  Cannot have a single diary around here that (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    appledown

    so much as mentions Obama's name without rabidly obsessed detractors coming out of the woodwork to pile on the attacks. This place looks more and more like Red State every day. The haters are so consumed with anger they've lost the ability to distinguish between legitimate and illegitimate (aka deluded) reasons to criticize.

    Ds see human suffering and wonder what they can do to relieve it. Rs see human suffering and wonder how they can profit from it.

    by JTinDC on Thu Dec 15, 2011 at 09:12:40 AM PST

  •  Hide: This diary is propaganda (0+ / 0-)

    If you are going to ban conspiracy theory from the site then please get rid of this kind of thing also. Both dramatically reduce this site's ability to have reasonable discourse.

  •  Didn't know how bad it was? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    StevenJoseph

    That is the problem with being in a bubble, you become out of touch.

    Face it, Obama had the WRONG ECONOMIC FOLK around him and they are still hanging around and the ones that told him that this stimulus was too small are GONE.

    Next year is about this economy, the lack of work, the jobless who are not counted any longer, the high unemployment in Black and Latino communities, the stagnate income, the great income divide, people who are working who have the same income 10-15 years later while inflation and prices on everything are soaring, and let's not even talk about bailing out these bank crooks and not holding anyone accountable.

    And they did not know how bad it was?  That never should have come out of Barack Obama's mouth.  It will be used as an attack ad, just watch and see.

  •  I disagree. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    icebergslim, ozsea1

    Let's take a look at this point:

    But when President Obama lamented Tuesday that his administration "didn't know how bad it was," a look back at the numbers show just how right he was.

    There are really two questions here:

    1) Did Obama know, in general, how bad things were?

    2) Did Obama know, specifically, how bad things were?

    To illustrate this, let me use an example.  On December 7th, 1941, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor.  On that date, pretty much everyone in the country knew, in general, how bad things were.  What almost no one knew was, specifically, how bad things were on that day.  For example, very few people knew exactly what the U.S. troop strength was,  how long it would take to build up all of the resources we needed for a Pacific war, how long it would take to get the men needed to fight the war, and how long it would take to get the resources in position.   The U.S., of course, also needed all kinds of information about Japanese resources and positions.  

    Now, no one would have faulted FDR if he had said years later that at the time of the bombing he did not know, specifically, how bad things were, but they would have surely faulted him if he had said that he had no idea, in general, how bad things were. We obviously know that FDR knew, generally, how bad things were.  His "day that will live in infamy" line tells us that.  However, we also know based on the MASSIVE response of his administration and all of the U.S. Congress that they all knew how bad things were in general.  They knew that the situation was dire in general, so they brought about a huge response despite not many of them knowing the specifics.

    Does history tell us that Congress spent a lot of time worrying if we might accidentally make too many planes or too many boats or too much ammunition? No, it does not.  This is because the overwhelming consensus was that it was far better to have too many boats and planes and too much ammunition than too few and too little.  

    Now, what does history tell us about what happened during The Great Depression?  It tells us that even though the country, in general, knew that the situation was dire from the start, the Republicans greatly resisted any kind of massive plan to deal with it and that FDR had to fight them tooth and nail to get done what needed to be done.  FDR knew that in a dire situation like The Great Depression, you go massive, just like he knew it years later on December 7th, 1941.  FDR knew what happens when you do not go massive because when he took office in 1933 the Depression had been raging for 3 years while the Republicans did almost nothing and things got much much worse.

    So now we come to Obama, who surely must have known, in general, that the economic situation was dire when he took office (or he is an idiot, take your pick).  It was the economy going into the crapper that caused the whole world to panic. It is one of the main things that helped him win election.  It is why John McCain took the virtually unheard of step of suggesting that he and Obama suspend their debate and fly to Washington D.C..

    So, when the U.S. was in the dire situation, and Obama had the blueprint of history of what FDR had done, did he go massive? Did he fight the Republicans tooth and nail for a massive response?  No, he took the tiny stimulus the Republicans agreed on and by the end of February 2009 he was done with stimulus.  

    In addition, when the stimulus failed to produce the numbers promised, he did nothing about it.  He waited over 2.5 years to propose an additional stimulus.  So, even if we assume that he was 100% sure that the stimulus would fix the problem, why did he not propose additional stimulus?  Oh, let me guess, the Republicans wouldn't let him do it, right?  Remember how FDR had to drag the Republicans kicking and screaming?  Apparently Obama doesn't, or maybe he's just too interested in in his goal of changing the way Washington works to fight the battles that need to be fought.  

    If concentrated wealth is great for the economy, then why do wealth concentrations always proceed economic disasters?

    by StevenJoseph on Thu Dec 15, 2011 at 10:03:36 AM PST

  •  I remember economists and financial "whizzes" (0+ / 0-)

    ...at the time admitting that no one, here or abroad, could get a really good handle on the breadth and depth of the nightmare, or a full picture of how it all came to be.

    Not that hard to imagine when you watch things like "Inside Job" and realize how complex the whole thing was. I worked for an actuary at the time who was monitoring securitizations in the reinsurance sector, and that was just a small part of what was going on, and it was mind-boggling.

    The extent to which elected officials, regulators, and corporate criminals fucked with this economy may not be fully known for a decade or more. The dust hasn't really settled yet, and the lack of prosecutions has allowed an awful lot to be swept under some mighty big rugs.

    Heads should be rolling, should have already rolled, and they may never. Time marches on.

    Ich bin ein Wisconsiner!

    by Apphouse50 on Thu Dec 15, 2011 at 10:44:23 AM PST

  •  Didn't know how bad it was, eh? (1+ / 0-)

    Nobody could foresee that massive tax cuts and two wars paid for with borrowed money and the dismantling of regulations that had served the financial industry well since the Depression would lead to major financial crisis? Bull-twaddle.

    Congress shall make no law abridging the right of the people peaceably to assemble.

    by edg on Thu Dec 15, 2011 at 10:55:03 AM PST

  •  Meet the new boss.... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    StevenJoseph

    Don't get me wrong, I'll continue to vote Dem, straight ticket.

    It's just that I feel the need to acknowledge reality.  The Dems are much better on social issues than are the Repubs; however, both parties are bought and paid for by trans-national corporations who call the economic tune

    I am ashamed of my Dem politicians.  I am disgusted by Repub politicians.

    "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win". Mohandas K. Ghandi

    by Randolph the red nosed reindeer on Thu Dec 15, 2011 at 03:40:20 PM PST

  •  Sort of like a professional wrestling story line.. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    StevenJoseph

    The Dems are set up by their corporate masters as the "good guy".  They will fuss and fume and stomp and yell...and then they will get beaten by the "bad guy" Republican party.  

    This is a great story line.  It keeps us Dems in line, although we sometimes lament the lack of backbone in our Dem officials.  It allows the corporate interests to gain exactly what they want.  The pseudo Dem vs. Repub. script gives the Repub righties their red meat and at the same time gives us Dem lackeys false hope that our "good guy" Dem Party will ultimately persevere.

    Greek tragedies could not be better written.

    "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win". Mohandas K. Ghandi

    by Randolph the red nosed reindeer on Thu Dec 15, 2011 at 03:48:27 PM PST

  •  I knew that it was fucking awful (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    StevenJoseph

    Hint to Obama, just because you and all of your well-connected buddies are doing great doesn't mean that things are going great.

    "Victory means exit strategy, and it's important for the president to explain to us what the exit strategy is." - George W Bush

    by jfern on Thu Dec 15, 2011 at 04:31:22 PM PST

  •  Bush's 2001 Economic Forecast (0+ / 0-)

    http://www.cbsnews.com/...

    President Bush said Saturday that the most important number in the budget he sends to Congress next week is the $5.6 trillion surplus it projects over the next 10 years.

    Now THAT was a bad economic projection by an administration that didn't know what it was doing.

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