A holiday gift: Obama’s “sweet spot” economy


    Here’s some giddy holiday cheer, courtesy of today’s Wall Street Journal:

    The U.S. economy is rounding out 2014 in a sweet spot of robust growth, sustained hiring and falling unemployment, stirring optimism that a postrecession breakout has arrived…

    The economy posted its strongest growth in more than a decade during the third quarter, supported by robust consumer spending and business investment. Gross domestic product, the broadest measure of goods and services produced across the economy, grew at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of five percent…the strongest pace since the third quarter of 2003…

    “It appears we’ve reached an inflection point,” said John Canally, economist at LPL Financial…

    Yup. The jobless rate has dropped to 5.8 percent, the Dow closed yesterday at a record high (topping 18,000), the robust eco-stats are being powered by “an upswing in investment by businesses,” and consumer confidence as measured by the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan survey is at its highest level since pre-recession January ’07. Barclays’ chief economist said yesterday that consumers are “feeling more confident about their own futures because of the stronger labor market.” All told, the economic forecasters think the strong numbers are “real and sustainable.”

    Well. All I can say is, it’s a darn good thing that the voters ousted Barack Obama and replaced him with Mitt Romney.

    During the ’12 campaign, candidate Romney promised to push the jobless rate below six percent by 2016, he promised to rekindle consumer confidence, he promised “to assure every entrepreneur and every job creator that their investments in America will not vanish,” he promised to “repeal and replace” job-killing, economy-inhibiting Obamacare – and, sure enough, the new president has fulfilled his promises! Because, after all, how would we ever have sustained economic growth if the tax-loving, regulation-loving socialist had stayed in power….

    Oh wait. So much for that narrative.

    Yeah, I know, bullish economic stats are always accompanied by caveats, and it’s no different now. We probably won’t see a second straight quarter of five percent growth (that hardly ever happens), and even though it’s getting easier to find jobs, many of the jobs on offer don’t pay as well as the good jobs of yesteryear, nor are they likely to be as secure.

    But Romney would’ve had those same caveats, because the revolutionary changes wrought by technology on the workplace are profoundly nonpartisan. Nevertheless, rest assured that if Romney were president on this very day, the GOP message machine would be on full tilt boogie, taking lavish credit for having unleashed our inherent economic greatness. (Something like, “This ‘sweet spot’ recovery is what happens when you have a president who doesn’t apologize for America.”)

    Instead, what we have is Obama’s economy. As economic analyst Neil Irwin said yesterday, “That’s a Christmas gift anyone can celebrate.”

    But certain people don’t seem to be celebrating.

    Even though today’s Wall Street Journal is topped by the headlines “U.S. Economy Gains Momentum,” and “Dow Clears 18,000 After Five-Day Tear,” nary a word about this holiday cheer can be detected on the website of the Republican National Committee, or the Senate Republican Policy Committee, or the conservative Heritage Action, or the other outlets that routinely rebuked Obama when the stats were sluggish. If they want to be gracious (yeah, as if), they should post a pic of Homer Simpson and just say, “D’oh!”

    By the way, I can’t help but wonder how much sweeter the sweet spot would be today, if only the Republicans hadn’t shut down the federal government a year ago (cost to the economy: at least several billion dollars); and if they hadn’t repeatedly obstructed Obama’s various job-creating bills to repair our crumbling roads and bridges.

    But to heck with the grinches. We have legit reasons to raise a glass this holiday season; if that socialist hotbed, The Wall Street Journal, says we’ve hit the sweet spot, then surely it must be so. Party on!


    Follow me on Twitter, @dickpolman1, and on Facebook.



    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal