Election 2012

Obama's Unemployment Reality vs. Obama's Unemployment Predictions


Jim Pethokoukis of the American Enterprise Institute has updated his chart plotting the Obama administration's predictions of unemployment right now if the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act passed (under 6 percent!), if the stimulus didn't pass (about 6 percent!), and the reality of the situation (8.1 percent!).

The various explanations for why the administration was so far off—the recession was much worse than we expected! the stimulus needed to be bigger all along but we couldn't even suggest that due to GOP opposition!—don't inspire confidence either that President Obama's team ever knew what it was talking about or has the strength of purpose it pretends to.

Sadly, given Mitt Romney's various pro-stimulating utterances over the years – not to mention Paul Ryan's—and the Republican authorship of stuff like TARP and auto bailouts, the opposition is hardly in the position to make the case that Obama's interventions have lengthened the recession.

Romney was sharp to highlight Obama's dismal economic record at the Republican National Convention. Whether focusing exclusively on that is enough to win the governor the White House remains to be seen. But it sure isn't going to help the nation come 2013 if Romney can't articulate exactly what he would do differently than his immediate predecessors.

NEXT: Suicides on the Rise in Italy

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  1. The stimulus wasn’t big enough. Krugnuts said so.

  2. Let’s face it–reality is racist.

  3. Where is the chart showing Tim Cavanaugh’s predictions regarding inflation?

    1. Please remind us all when TIMMEH was elected president, Anal. Cause I forget…

      1. It’s not just failure to predict accurately. It’s spending a trillion dollars and having no measurable benefit to the economy at large.

        Give me a trillion to spend, and I guarantee results.

        1. Measurable benefits:


          1. Negative values are measurable.

          2. No question that printing and spending nearly a trillion dollars and permanently raising the fed’s share of the economy will have an effect. Debt always stimulates demand in the short run.

            The argument is, though, did it have the desired or even “intended” effect? And if so, was that effect worth the price? Hard to answer those questions in the affirmative.

            This particular program seems to have damaged capital creation, crushed any credit-based portfolio, damaged the retirements and retirement prospects of millions, delayed the retirement of millions and thus the entry into the workforce of millions more. And that’s just the current effects, without counting the damage that will be done when all that debt has to be paid off, inflated away, or defaulted on.

            1. Of course not (to answer your question). That was my point. The spend was supposed to do X, and it did no such thing. And it caused more harm than good. That much money. It’s insane.

              And fuck TARP along with the stimulus.

            2. I’m really enjoying these boom times, too. Partisans can try to throw out bullshit statistics all day, but we all know the economy is stuck in neutral. Parsers will parse, I guess.

              1. What amazes me is how little the US got for the trillion dollars. How do you spend a trillion bucks and have nothing to show for it?

                1. We could have a self-sustaining Mars colony for less than that. Or a giant Obama robot with hunter-killer drones for fingers and toes.

                2. The stimulus reminds me of the billions pored into some corrupt countries–the overall economic effect is nil, but some corrupt people got wealthier.

          3. What it says: The stimulus had a positive, statistically significant effect on employment.

            Digging and closing ditches will always have a positive effect on employment.

            The effects varied by type of spending.

            This caught my eye – you see, spending = employment.

            but aid to low-income people and infrastructure spending showed very positive impacts.

            Translation: Spending = employment = economic health. Oh, and ditch-digging.

            Next, Klein and Derider here will show us the economic benefit of breaking windows.

        2. I require a mere HALF a trillion, and I will guarantee those very same results.

          1. I can name that tune in one note.

        3. If you took a trillion dollars in hundred dollar bills and threw them out of helicopters over populated areas, I’d guarantee that you’d get better results.

    2. Re: Alan Vanneman,

      Where is the chart showing Tim Cavanaugh’s predictions regarding inflation?

      Right here:


  4. Economics is hard!

  5. If you are determined to do Keynesian stimulation, it would certainly be better/less bad to do it without the crony enrichment.

    Just take that money and use it to retire $X of debt of every household. Demand, stimulated.

    1. Hahaha, which of course assumes the point was anything with helping jus’ folks.

    2. Hell, pull a DB Cooper and drop the money out of airplanes. Put the ensuing scramble for cash on PPV. That’ll stimulate the economy in multiple ways.

  6. Semi-related: CNN stumbles onto the cure for the economy: more strikes.


    1. In 1935, the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) created a process for legally recognizing union representation and managing private-sector labor conflict. The result was historic democratization of the American workplace and economy.

      And an increase in unemployment.

      The strike was a crucial part of this system: While the law was intended to reduce industrial strife, it also relied on the right to strike to protect the integrity of the bargaining process.

      Translation: The NLRB cemented the idea that Might Makes Right.

      This is INDEED what the left believes.

      1. No kidding. The “right to strike” is meaningless unless you understand that it includes the right to threaten and intimidate replacement workers and the right to shut down your employer via threats and extortion.

    2. IF there is any utility in unions, the inability to fire striking workers destroys the checks and balances of the system. If the union workers cannot be fired for striking, then they will strike more often, over increasingly petty crap. Chicago teachers just went on strike because a 16% raise wasn’t enough. They aren’t striking for safe working conditions or sub-minimum wages pay… they are striking to tip the scales in an even more unfair manner.

      Bankruptcy protection for union pensions is the same sort of imbalance. If a union can push a company to the point that declaring bankruptcy is better than paying them off, they’ve killed the goose. Continuing to give them golden eggs is a very perverse incentive.

      1. No, no, black lung and child slave labor are major issues in Chicago education.

      2. Yeah, people in the private sector are taking pay CUTS left and right, and the unions are bitching because the already overpaid teachers are getting a 16% raise, and that’s not enough?

    3. I’d lay 3-to-1 odds the woman on the left, in the Army cap, is a regular Jezebel reader.

      1. No chance of taking that bet – she has it bookmarked.

  7. Discouraged workers: married money, entered school, went on welfare, started a life of crimre. What do you think the breakdown is?

    1. You left out “found work that pays in cash”.

  8. If you want to get even more depressed, have a look at the real reality.

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