Friday, June 8, 2012
Listen to the whole press conference, and then try to tell me that President Obama doesn't have a firm appreciation of our economic situation, and its relationship to the situation in Europe, which was the focus of the president's remarks today. True, at one point, when President Obama was challenged about whether the failure of his own policies has caused the situation in Europe, he reacted by defending his policies, which have stabilized the U.S. financial system, and created more than 4 million new private sector jobs. That is a record that any European country would envy, and the Europeans cannot and do not blame this country for their lackluster recovery, because they know that the United States has in fact been leading the way out of economic crisis. The problem in Europe is that the weaknesses in their own political and economic union have thus far impeded them from taking the steps that have been so successful in the United States.
In the course of explaining that, President Obama might not have used the best choice of words (one word actually) to describe the superior performance of the American private sector in creating jobs. What he said (about 21 minutes into the press conference) was that the private sector was doing "fine," but that the public sector and the construction industry still could use more help. Earlier in the press conference (about 13 minutes in), President Obama said the same thing using somewhat different phraseology. He explained that the private sector has been doing a good job creating jobs, and generating record profits, but that there is still a problem with the loss of jobs in state and local governments, and in the construction industry. Obviously and unquestionably, his later reference to the private sector doing "fine" was meant to reiterate this comparison to the public sector. And I have not seen anyone who criticized the president's statement today challenge his point that continued losses of jobs in the public sector have been a major drag on the recovery. That is simply a fact.
For someone who is generally so careful about choosing his words, this was a very rare example of choosing a word that might not have been the best possible word the president could have chosen. And President Obama clarified his statement later in the day. So give the guy a break.
UPDATE: For those who like charts, here's a link to Business Insider, which put up a bunch of charts that prove that what President Obama said was exactly correct.