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Cleaning up Obama’s Messes

In today’s WSJ.com’s Political Diary (available by subscription), Stephen Moore quips “The Laffer report on the two presidents”, Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama “is aptly entitled ‘The Odd Couple.’ In this case Reagan would be Felix, because he cleaned up the mess; and Mr. Obama is more like Oscar, who leaves a bigger mess behind.”

Seems Democrats believe the incumbent can repeat the feat of the most successful domestic policy president of the 20th century and win reelection despite middling polls during his third year in office. Problem is is that the Gipper’s poll numbers steadily increased in 1983 while in the corresponding year of his term, Obama’s have drifted downward.

Moore is onto something when he talks about Obama having left a bigger mess behind [than the one he “inherited”]. One reason House Republicans haven’t been able to devote more time on conservative reforms is that they have had to clean up messes the previous Congress left behind, such as its failure to pass a budget and to increase the debt ceiling high enough to accommodate the spending increases it did pass.

In addition to the messes the last Democratic House left the current Republican one, there are the messes Obama will leave to his successor, including notably two of the “big” pieces of legislation he signed, the health care overhaul and the Dodd-Frank financial regulation bill, each increasing federal control over our economy. Not to mention all the new regulations administration appointees have foisted on the private sector, particularly those imposed by the EPA.

The next president is going to have to devote the better part of his first year in office just cleaning up the messes the incumbent is making today.

Will Obama consider economic history in developing his jobs plan?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 3:00 pm - August 30, 2011.
Filed under: American History,Economy

Two weeks ago, I wondered if Obama’s Big Jobs Speech would be, like his other big speeches, full of sound and fury, specifying nothing. Yesterday, in a similar vein, Jim Geraghty quipped, “Wait, a ‘major speech’? I thought he promised a ‘very specific plan.’”  That blogger was responding to an USA Today piece on the president’s claim that creating jobs was “our urgent mission.

So, as the president prepares that speech, I’m wondering whom he’s consulting, representatives of left-of-center interest groups whose resources he needs to win re-election, political consultants who have poll-tested various ideas or economists who have theories of how markets work.

Perhaps, he would better to consult instead with economic historians, asking them to study each major economic downturn over the past century or so, perhaps going back to the Panic of 1893, and see how the respective presidents responded to those recessions  — and to see how markets responded to those policies, whether the economy grew in response and whether or not jobs were created.

Instead of consulting economists who have put forward various theories of how markets works, he would to wise to seek out individuals who have studied what actually happened.  But, methinks, alas, Mr. Obama is too dependent on various big government theories; he just believes they work.  Seems he puts more stock in his theories than in the actual results of government policy.

FROM THE COMMENTS:  John the Egyptian offers:

The liberal narrative always transcends reality. Liberals are to be judged upon their intents, their hopes, and their empathy; not on their results.

Indeed.