Peter Baker’s NYT article on the Obama administration’s economic battles is fascinating reading. Chronicling the two-year chess match between Summers, Geithner, Orszag, Goolsby, Romer, Emanuel, et. al., it’s hard to imagine what else they could have done, but somehow it hasn’t been enough anyway. And almost completely unmentioned is the direct role Congress did, or didn’t, play in turning policy into effective legislation.
“The tax deal between Obama and Republicans amounted to a second stimulus package, and economists responded by upgrading growth projections for 2011 to around 3.5 percent. But even if that optimism is borne out, and the pace is maintained, unemployment would still be about 8 percent when voters pass judgment on Obama’s presidency in 2012. His political advisers hope that the direction of the economy will be clear enough to satisfy voters, as it was in 1984 when Ronald Reagan was re-elected despite more than 7 percent unemployment.”