THE PLANK AUGUST 11, 2009
So says Shrum:
Ironically, the lies and legions of the right reached fever pitch at the moment the news arrived that, once again, activist government is succeeding in the wake of free market failure on a scale not seen since the Great Depression. Despite predictions that unemployment would soar above ten percent, the rate instead fell for the first time in a year. There is now a near-consensus, except among doctrinaire true believers, that federal decisions from the bank bailouts to the stimulus package not only prevented economic catastrophe, but have begun to spark an economic revival.
New home sales and home prices have ticked up; so have average weekly earnings. The pain isn't over, especially for the millions who are out of work. We'll see additional losses because employment growth lags economic growth. But growth seems likely to elide into positive territory during the second half of the year, with the recovery gaining momentum as we enter the midterm election year of 2010.
The instant news cycle, which has trumpeted the bad news, will turn around as the economy does. Increasingly, we'll hear that America's on the up, with the predictable tidal effects on our national politics.
I buy it. And if the Obama team really believes an economic comeback is underway, maybe they should back off on cap-and-trade for a while, focus on health care, and then return to the environment when people are feeling more confident about their instincts on the economy.