Joe Weisenthal tries to stand with the President that in fact the private economy is growing well and that in fact our woes are with the public sector. There actually is a lot of truth in that – there are a number of indicators that suggest the government is doing everything it can to undermine gains made by the private economy.
But the President screwed up. How? He said “the private sector is doing fine.” Weisenthal’s private sector graphs are up and to the right.
He shows that corporations have record profits.
Investment is up.
Landlords are doing awesome because of rent inflation.
There are more jobs than when Obama took office.
Here’s why this is wrongheaded:
Corporations might be people. But they can’t vote. That they have record profits and that they are somewhat investing is irrelevant and perhaps hurtful for reelection chances if they are not passing those benefits on to real people. And they are not. Look at per capital GDP.
We are well below potential. And on aggregate, Americans were last this poor just prior to 2006. Does the significance of that jump out? Americans are poorer than when the president took office, and barring a miracle they will still be poorer in November.
Even worse, they are working less hours. If you’re lucky enough to have a job, you’re still languishing.
And yeah, if you’re a landlord you’re doing gangbusters. But more people are renters than landlords, and the cost of renting is eating incomes alive. When you have high unemployment and high inflation, it’s bad. Finding a place to live right now is not fun. And we’re not authorizing, much less building, all that much new apartment supply to take the pressure off right away.
As far as Weisenthal’s “we have more jobs than when Obama took office” stance: well we also have more people. And it’s not mystery that job creation isn’t keeping pace with population growth.
Now, why do I think my story is better than Weisenthals’s? Because mine isn’t about balance sheet figures and the profits of select individuals. It’s about the aggregate state of real voting people in this economy. That the two stories don’t gel well is something worth discussing. What isn’t worth discussing is that Obama was unequivocally dumb in what he said.