The Misunderestimations of Weak Minds

by JC

Over at LitW, a comment thread ensued lambasting the Obama administration’s inaccurate prediction of the scale of job loss as an outcome of the stimulus bill.

It started off with the usual inane comment from Eric Coobs:

“Democrats trying to better the lives of everyday Americans? I don’t think so.

‘Hope and Change’ has put how many million people out of work now?”

And of course, Craig Moore had to step in for some tea bagger backup, noting that 3.6 million jobs had been lost since Obama took office, and unemployment hit 10% instead of the predicted 8%. Duly noted. Stimulus should have been larger–though that was politically unfeasible in light of the fact that needing a few republican votes to pass the stimulus necessitated a scaling back of the size of the bill. Remember those negotiations with 3 republican Senators to win passage? Therein lies the weakness of the stimulus and its lessened impact on job loss.

The point I am trying to make, however, is that while it is easy to blame Obama for job losses, and for a too-rosy early forecast on the impact of the stimulus, this is nothing compared to the Bush forecast in early 2008 on the economy, and failure to act at all. Forecasts that were delivered via an ostrich with its head in the ground.

President Bush’s “2008 Economic Report of the President (p. 26)” predicted the following in February of 2008:

“The Administration’s forecast calls for the economic expansion to continue in 2008, but at a slower pace than in the earlier years of this expansion. Slower growth is anticipated for the first half of the year, and the average unemployment rate for 2008 is projected to move up from the 2007 level. In 2009 and 2010 real GDP growth is projected at 3 percent, thereafter slowing, while the unemployment rate is projected to remain stable and below 5 percent in the 2009-10 period”

And a specific job forecast (p. 38):

“The Administration projects that employment will increase at an average pace of 109,000 jobs per month during the four quarters of 2008 [for a total of 1.3 million job growth in 2008]”

Obviously Bush & Co. seriously misunderestimated the impending doom of the upcoming Great Recession. And totally missed the 4th quarter 2008 GDP, which decreased by 6.2%.

Yet Coobs, Moore, and some of our local righty commenters et al. seem to think that 1) all of the job loss during Obama’s first year is all of his and the dems own making; 2) this is evidence of the failure of the stimulus (instead of the insufficient scale of the stimulus, as most economists believe); and 3) that everything was hunky dory during Bush’s outgoing year, and the fact that the economy lost 3.1 million jobs in 2008, instead of exhibiting the predicted growth of 1.3 million jobs is of no consequence. Conservatives are in major denial about any responsibility of either Bush or conservative ideology in respect to our current economic situation and employment levels.

This is the story going into the elections of 2010, and to some degree will be used against Obama during his reelection campaign, should he decide to run. And of course, it flies false in face of all the facts and evidence (unless you are a denier of any culpability of the Bush administration for our current problems), and is an early revisionist attempt to whitewash Bush & Co.’s culpability.

And it is easy to see the evidence that Coobs’ next comment, “employment has been in a free-fall since The Great Leader moved into the White House,” is totally absurd. The free-fall during Bush’s last year ended right as Obama took office, and the rate of job loss has fallen to the point same point it was in early 2008, when Bush was burying his head deeper in the sand, and dreaming of long days on the ranch in Texas.

Coobs’ assertions are not an isolated moment of tea bagger misunderestimations and overstated bluster. It is mainstream righty propaganda and thus a growing meme in the uncritical media. It is going to be the leading charge against democrats this fall. But it is patently false and misleading, and needs to be called out every time it arises.

I’ll leave you all with a graph put together by Speaker Pelosi from Bureau of Labor and Statistics data that speaks for itself:


  1. JeremiahJohnson

    Even Bush recognized the big brick wall the economy was speeding toward — that’s why he started the ball rolling on the Wall Street bailout. That went against every conservative principle, but he had to do it anyway.
    Republican policies enacted since Nixon made the banks just “too big to fail.” And not for the first time.
    The tea baggers would have let them fail, right? Had that happened they would have gotten the total anarchy they apparently want — a chance to put blood in the streets and get their states to secede. Hell, some of them probably was to re-institute slavery.
    I didn’t particularly like the GM and Chrysler bailout either, but where would unemployment be today if they and all their local car dealers and all their suppliers had folded?
    The truth is that the Republicans’ philosophy that unregulated commerce will solve all the nation’s ills simply does not work.
    But they’ll keep trying. Ending social security and public education are clearly on their hit list.
    Simply put, there is no future for them. And they’ve mixed their politics and theology so long and so completely that they “believe” they’re doing God’s work when they’re actually taking us all into hell.

    • Teabaggers aren’t taking us anywhere. They might have a little success in 2010 but as the dinosaurs age they will not even be a footnote in the painfully slow progress toward a much more enlightened and intelligent government.

      Progress progresses inexorably with or without their insignificant opposition. History teaches us this. But patience is painful.

      • The bigger danger to our government is the common enemy of wealthy corporate interests.

        • Big Swede

          Exactly what Hugo Chavez says.

        • problembear

          the wealthy corporate interests are the only ones who benefited from the bail-outs.

          allowing them to go broke might have allowed new ways of doing business to flourish under a more locally driven economy. but since we have saved the global parasites from bankruptcy, they are now free to continue to devour the host (us) until there is nothing left of this country worth sucking on…

          then they will lay their eggs in some other economy and “derive” wealth until it too is concentrated in the top 5% of that country’s population.

          we are borrowing more and more money and it is mostly going into the pockets of the top 5%. bankruptcy for the biggest would have been painful but bailing them out just bought time for the top 5% to put it in a suitcase and blow town.

  2. Big Swede

    What drives a successful Presidential agenda?


    How’s BHO doing? Making Carter look good.

  3. problembear

    bush made millard fillmore look good swede.

  4. Big Swede

    I wonder if this graph has anything to do with our current economic crisis?

    • JC

      That shows me that Bushanomics was the culprit. We had a surplus and were paying down our debt. The Bush took office and the raiding of the public coffers began, ending with a Great Recession.

  5. Lizard

    neither side gets it because of a collective retardation of critical thinking and memory capacity. a couple of stupid graphs and a collection of partisan zingers is about all we can expect. how depressing.

    here is one thing obama could do right now that would get me clapping: fire geithner. fire the mother-loving crap out of him. read mike whitney’s latest if you want a few more details.

  6. I just love it when you go deep, thoughtful and thorough on us, JC. This is really, really good duckspeak.

    I am a little on the gray side, and remember an episode of Star Trek from the 1960’s that seems apropos here. The Enterprise had encountered a planet that was undergoing great strife and conflict due to racial differences. Half of the planet were people who were white on their left half, and black on their right half, and were mirror-imaged by the other half of the population.

    That was the source of the conflict.

  7. Chuck

    To whomever ca

    The mayor has set up his economic development advisory team. They have hired and are paying for a consultant to be in town this week. Here is a client list for the consultant they hired to help advise the mayor on Missoula’s economic future.

    The mayor has to be off his rocker if he is considering taking advice from the hedge fund types and the mega speculator-land developers represented by this consultant. Come on Mr Mayor….run ….run away from these same guys that got us into this economic cluster – mess.

  1. 1 Give a dog a bad name, then you can beat him « Piece Of Mind

    […] on the blogs there’s been a lot of Democrats playing holier than thou to Republicans (try here and here), who are constantly harping about stupid Democrats who must be on the […]

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