Tim Cavanaugh, Matt Welch, and Katherine Mangu-Ward on the Recovery That Wasn't


Two weeks after being sworn in as the 44th president of the United States, President Barack Obama told CNN: "The only measure of my success as president when people look back five years from now or nine years from now is going to be, Did I get this economy fixed?"

By his own criterion, Obama deserves to be judged harshly. Headline unemployment, which the incoming administration projected to top out at 8.0 percent as long as its landmark February 2009 stimulus package was passed, has yet to be lower than 8.0 percent. Meanwhile, administration officials have spent the intervening time claiming, absurdly, that the economy is on the mend.

That gap between rhetoric and reality shows no signs of closing. On the following pages you will see two timelines capturing the dismal economic reality of the Obama years. Above and below the lines you will see an illustrated collection of administration quotations about this wonderful recovery we should start enjoying any minute now.