Sunday, April 26, 2009

The First One Hundred Days

I guess this title is supposed to conjure up the image of FDR battling the great depression. After all, when Obama took office the unemployment rate was 7 percent. That's pretty awful. It is a little worse, but not much worse, than the average unemployment rate of the eight year Clinton Administration.

What did FDR face? Try 25 percent unemployment. Why is 7 percent considered the same as 25 percent? Must be the new math! Certainly it's not the old math. Admittedly once, briefly, during the 1930's unemployment touched 14 percent (before it rebounded back to over 20 percent) and everyone shouted hallelujah. Do you think Obama will cheer when unemployment touches 14 percent?

So, it isn't exactly clear to me what the parallels are? The banking system? In January of 1933 when Roosevelt was sworn in as President over 1/3 of all commercial banks in the United States had failed and GDP was one third lower than it had been four years earlier. When Obama assumed office fewer than one percent of all commercial banks in the US had failed in the prior four years and (prior three month) GDP was actually higher in January of 2009 than it had been when Bush began his second term. Another interesting parallel? (I am losing track of why this is a parallel!).

Anyway, back to the "First One Hundred Days." (Maybe we're comparing it to Jimmy Carter's first one hundred days. Now, there is a true comparison on many levels!).

So, what has been accomplished in the first 100 days? We have added two trillion to the national debt and have plans to add another two trillion before this administration is up for re-election. That is certainly a record! No one in history (in the US or anywhere in the world) has ever done that before. In fact, no one in history has ever done 1/3 of that!! Congratulations, Mr. President! That will be a new record, by a wide margin indeed!

What else? We have announced that our economic problems boil down to "greed and corruption." In case you don't know much about greed and corruption, let me give you a quick primer. Greed and corruption came to the US in January of 2001 and was ushered out in January of 2009. Geithner, Rattner, Gov Richardson, Elliot Spitzer (ooops, how did he get in here?), Emanuel, Daschle, Murtha, Gov Blagojevich are showing us the way.

Our problems can be solved by more debt....and letting people get out of paying their existing debt ....and giving Wall Street (those greedy, corrupt folks) billions and billions of dollars. That sounds like good policy to me. On the backs of that, we should build a terrific long, lasting recovery. Thanks, Mr. President!

Let's see what the next 100 days will do for us.