Sunday, January 17, 2010

Obama and the economy

Among political observers in Washington and major media outlets there is increasing talk of President Obama's need to focus on the economy and jobs, commonly seen as a victim of attention given to the health care debate. In today's New York Times Adam Nagourney reports senior White House aides are urging Obama to "pivot more quickly on the economy" while Rep. James Moran (D-VA) declared this week that "moving on to job creation is absolutely essential." The Wall Street Journal ran an article earlier this month noting the growing pressure on the President to spotlight the jobs issue.

Allow me to dissent.

While any number of criticisms can fairly be leveled at Obama, a lack of federal attention to the economy is certainly not one of them. Since taking office the President has pushed through a $787 billion stimulus package, a $3 billion "cash for clunkers" program meant in part to help stimulate auto sales, and legislation meant to stave off foreclosure for homeowners. And that's not all. As wikipedia notes:
As part of the 2010 budget proposal, the Obama administration has proposed additional measures to attempt to stabilize the economy, including a $2–3 trillion measure aimed at stabilizing the financial system and freeing up credit. The program includes up to $1 trillion to buy toxic bank assets, an additional $1 trillion to expand a federal consumer loan program, and the $350 billion left in the Troubled Assets Relief Program.
The economy is not suffering from insufficient attention, it's suffering from relentless intervention which expands government and further chokes the market. As a wise man once said, "In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem." Until the current occupant of the White House takes this lesson to heart -- a doubtful prospect -- we can only hope the President and Congress' various initiatives meet with futility. The economy's problems do not stem from presidential neglect; indeed, such neglect represents its best hope for renewed prosperity.

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