Andrew Sullivan Nominates Tim Cavanaugh for Trig Palin Award


Newsweek afterbirther Andrew Sullivan briefly leaves off rescuing abandoned Palin family infants from rocky mountaintops in order to chart my claptrap

According to Sully, my belief that under President Barack Obama America has experienced "vast unemployment, soaring inflation, a moribund economy, record deficits, and a manically ill-conceived energy policy" is not merely wrong. It is so wrong as to make me eligible for a "Malkin Award" (which I had never heard of prior to my nomination but which I assume is a raspberry named in honor of Holy Spirit High graduate Michelle Malkin, of whom I shall not speak well because she went to Holy Spirit High). 

Points in order: 

• I believe I am neither the first nor the last to note that U-3 unemployment currently is higher than the rate Obama's economic advisors predicted it would be were the $800 billion ARRA stimulus not adopted. (It was adopted, one month into Obama's presidency.) 

• I'd like to take "soaring inflation" and "moribund economy" together: Sullivan posts two charts, one showing GDP growth averaging flat-or-flattish since 2007, and another showing inflation in every quarter except one. During that period, inflation has been a cumulative 10.97, according to a Koch-funded rightwing hate group called the Bureau of Labor Statistics

I suggest Sullivan take a look at the Federal Reserve's Flow of Fund reports to get a sense of how much household net worth Americans have lost over those same four years, while the value of their money has been literally decimated. That's a double-whammy called "stagflation," which like the name of Voldemort I don't care to pronounce because I remember the original. 

All caveats about the falsehood of both CPI inflation and GDP measurements also apply. I have left Sully's Keynesian church and am only using its false dogma for the sake of argument. 

• As for record deficits, Sullivan is following the latest don't-believe-your-own-two-eyes fad, which claims that you when see clear evidence of at-or-near-record peacetime spending hikes since 2009, you're just showing that you don't understand how the federal budget really works. (If the preceding is too much of a mouthful, here's the shorter version: It's Bush's fault.) 

I have another neat chart, from James Pethokoukis, which takes President George W. Bush spending hikes into account and still shows what Obama's done with the place. Sullivan seems to think I have a problem admitting Bush was a big spender too, which (since he says nothing interesting about energy policy) brings me to his final error: 

• I voted for Obama in 2008, and documented that vote more than once. So in saying my description of the economy's performance over the past four years is a "knee-jerk" response of the "right," Sullivan is, as always, wrong. 

Sullivan's early-aughts star-turn as the Prince Hamlet of the liberal hawks cured me of any hope that he might deal honestly with his formerly held positions. But I think he should spare a thought for the throat-clearing bore who wrote the following in 2009: "But it also seems to me that this president and this new Congress were elected in part to address this issue, that their more interventionist stand was clear, and that they should both get the benefit of the doubt—as well as full responsibility for the consequences."