As Scott Shackford notes below, President Obama's comments at today's press conference included the delusional statement that "the private sector is doing fine."
Via RealClearPolitics, here's vid and a transcript:
Question: What about the Republicans saying that you're blaming the Europeans for the failures of your own policies?
President Obama: The truth of the matter is that, as I said, we created 4.3 million jobs over the last 27 months, over 800,000 just this year alone.
The private sector is doing fine. Where we're seeing weaknesses in our economy have to do with state and local government. Oftentimes cuts initiated by, you know, Governors or mayors who are not getting the kind of help that they have in the past from the federal government and who don't have the same kind of flexibility as the federal government in dealing with fewer revenues coming in.
And so, you know, if Republicans want to be helpful, if they really want to move forward and put people back to work, what they should be thinking about is how do we help state and local governments and how do we help the construction industry? Because the recipes that they're promoting are basically the kinds of policies that would add weakness to the—to the economy, would result in further layoffs, would not provide relief in the housing market, and would result, I think most economists estimate, in lower growth and fewer jobs, not more.
The stammering, halting, tentative delivery of Obama strikes me as symptomatic of a whiskey priest who's dying for a drink right after saying Mass. He doesn't believe what he's saying but also doesn't have a clue as to how to move forward or address his failings. Yes, the private sector is doing fine, if by fine you mean pretty goddamned awful.
Nobody who's spent more than five seconds on this site will mistake Reason for a bunch of GOP apologists (Christ, we spend more time slapping around the idiot Boehners and McConnells of the political world precisely because they pretend to represent limited-government values that overlap with actual libertarianism). But Obama here is making the Republicans look good. That will last until they open their own traps.
How might GOP legislators help state and local governments? I dunno know, maybe by not saddling those jurisdictions with massive unfunded liabilities and partly funded liabilities (Medicaid, ObamaCare)? If Obama's stimulus—packed with more "shovel-ready" construction jobs than a Snickers bar is with peanuts—didn't jumpstart the building trades (and it didn't), maybe it's best to give that a rest.
And let's raise a slightly different question: If Obama is pushing for more federal spending ("the kind of help that they have [got] in the past from the federal government"), then why the hell is his campaign touting the discredited chart "proving" that Obama is a skinflint when it comes to spending?:
The truth is, the President's supposed "spending binge" is nothing but a myth, repeatedly debunked by independent fact checkers. Federal spending growth has actually been slower under President Obama than under any other president since Dwight Eisenhower.
That claim—and especially claims made by the Obama campaign that "independent" fact-checkers verified it— rated three out of a possible four Pinocchios from the Washington Post.
But which is it, President Obama? Is the public sector ailing because you're a cheapskate who hasn't spend enough or because the GOP (whose role in making 21st century governance as near a total clusterfuck as can be imagined) is keeping too tight a grip on the purse strings?
Related reading: Is Austerity to blame for Europe's economic woes?
Related viewing: "I have no confidence in this gasket….The washer fluid is NOT fine!"