Presidents are like quarterbacks, getting too much credit or too much blame for the game, in this case the economy. If the business cycle had rolled differently and the congressionally enabled S&L bust hadn’t happened, George H.W. Bush almost certainly would have won a second term. Now the U.S. economy is healing slowly, with today’s report of 227,000 new jobs added in February as the latest sign. How much credit should President Obama get?
Some would argue he deserves much credit, as is laid out in this Washington Monthly article. I wrote elsewhere that almost all of these accomplishments require a qualifying asterisk. For example, Mr. Obama and Ben Bernanke helped keep the meltdown from becoming a depression. Yet the rule of law has not been enforced on Wall Street and the stimulus was too small and wasted.
I won’t play the “socialism” game. If the president is a socialist, where is my universal health care, great train system, protected job, high taxes on the wealthy and expanded public sector? Bah.
Read on for the best links of the week and the haiku:
This Week’s Links:
- Inequality by county || NY Times
- Nuclear power: The dream that failed || The Economist
- China politburo member says wealth gap risks unrest || Bloomberg
- How U.S. companies decide where to locate their Chinese factories || Atlantic Cities
- America’s industrial policy || Prestowitz/Foreign Policy
- How many U.S. jobs does Apple actually create? || NPR
- What the Business Roundtable knows about U.S. health care || Wash Post
- The hundred-billion euro time bomb || Spiegel
- Boom-era speculators to get foreclosure aid || Bloomberg
- Gasoline prices didn’t cause the housing crash || Reuters
- What a bankster has to do to get arrested || Slate
- Which cities have the best urban policies (Seattle No. 2) || Fast Company
- What would Milton Friedman say? The whack-a-mole game || David Beckworth
Today’s Econ Haiku:
Revenge for Russell
Seattle and Tacoma
No Grand Alliance