Posted: August 17, 2011
If Barack Obama were prone to conspiracy theories, he might think the last couple of weeks were part of a plot orchestrated by Jimmy Carter to salvage his own legacy.
First off the Democrats get the GOP to acquiesce to a debt ceiling bill that will result in the federal government raising taxes and increasing spending by over $7 trillion over the next decade. The immediate result is United States government debt being downgraded for the first time in history, something Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner stated unequivocally would not happen only the week before.
Soon thereafter the Fed looked into their crystal ball and decided that economic prospects were so bad that they had to take the unprecedented step of publicly stating that they would be leaving interest rates near zero until mid 2013. It seems as if Keynesians never see – nay recognize – failure, they simply see another opportunity to try and do the same thing over again, only each time a bit bigger.
Up on Wall Street things weren’t going any better. The Dow dropped 600 points the day after the downgrade and it has spent the subsequent two weeks on a daily triple digit roller coaster. All together the market is down almost 10 percent since the beginning of the month.
Those things are tough, but they don’t really add up to much of a conspiracy. Hey, the unemployment rate went down… from 9.2% to 9.1%, that can’t be a bad thing. Unless of course that decline is the result of more people simply throwing in the towel and giving up looking for a job at all. Add to that the decline in productivity and the increase in labor costs and things start to look rather bleak. All this while Obama’s approval ratings slipped to the lowest levels of his presidency.