I think as soon as you saw Lil’ Timmy Turbo Tax being mocked on Saturday Night Live (which politically I feel has been hee-sterical lately, something you haven’t been able to say aboot SNL since 1993), you knew the wheels were starting to come off. With two days, there were rumors that Steve Rattner was named “car czar” just in case Lil’ Timmy decided to “resign,” they would have someone in place.
While we like to have fun at Lil’ Timmy’s expense lately, he might not be the person to blame for what many consider to be a directionless economic policy (that even Dems like Robert Reich and Warren Buffett are starting to criticize). There is another official in the Obama Administration who might be MORE to blame than Triple-T.
That official? Barack Obama. So sayeth the always fair and balanced Byron York…
Signs of confusion are all around. First, the president hasn’t troubled himself to hire a team to work alongside Geithner at Treasury. There are normally eighteen high-ranking Department officials who have to be confirmed by the Senate, and Obama has nominated three — and none of them have even had hearings yet. “Geithner isn’t getting any support from the White House,” another clued-in GOP aide told me. “No one man can do this job. Where is everyone who is supposed to be helping?”
Second, the administration is giving off signs of uncertainty about its own analysis of the crisis. The White House knows its forecasts of growth next year — when the administration predicts the economy will magically snap out of deep recession and resume robust growth — are too rosy. But they know they can’t rein in those forecasts, bring them more in line with the expert consensus, without blowing the president’s big-spending budget out of the water. So they stick to a less and less credible forecast.
Third, the White House even seems unsure of its much-touted $787 billion stimulus package. Do you remember how often President Obama said his plan will “create or save” four million jobs? Well, a group of economists sympathetic to Capitol Hill Democrats reportedly says the number might be significantly lower — maybe 2.5 million jobs.
In light of that, the president’s pledge to “save” jobs is looking fuzzier by the day. At a Senate hearing last week, Geithner hemmed and hawed when he was asked the simple question, “What’s a saved job?”
You can read the whole piece here. Where I think the biggest problem lies is that Obama chose Geithner, Larry Summers, and Peter Orszag to send the signal to Wall Street and the financial sector that the “dream team” was coming and we were all going to be ok.
Then the three of them go out to do interviews, and don’t exactly give off the vibe that they believe any of the words coming out of their mouth. That’s a problem.
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