...I don't know if Obama really believes it or not. But he needs us to believe it, in order to create public pressure on Congress to implement Stimulus 2.0. John Podhoretz:
In part, Obama needs to be able to say, “The private sector is fine,” because a healthy private sector is essential for his plans to increase the size of government — after all, the money to pay for it has to come from somewhere.
Obama’s explanation for the slowdown in economic growth is that the public sector is hurting, and that’s where Washington must step in and act.
“Where we’re seeing weaknesses in our economy have to do with state and local government. Oftentimes, cuts initiated by, you know, governors or mayors who are not getting the kind of help that they have in the past from the federal government,” he said. “And so, you know, if Republicans want to be helpful, if they really want to move forward and put people back to work, what they should be thinking about is how do we help state and local governments.”
Which is accomplished, in the president' mind, by increased government spending, both at the federal and local level, to be paid for by...increases in taxation. And since that tax increase would primarily come out of private sector businesses and their employees, he needs to convince us of its strength, so that he may sap it.
Some people, pointing to the overall unemployment figures and lack of participation in the labor market, claims Obama's bizarre statement proves how out of touch he is with the economy. And no doubt to a certain extent that is true.
But what I find amazing is that after the whipping the Democrats and the unions took in Wisconsin in an election based on the very same premise - that the growth of government and its employees should be the paramount consideration to the citizenry - that the president would whip out the very same losing argument less than 72 hours later as a national prescriptive for our economic woes.
Did he really think he still had the persuasive power to convince us that down is up? I don't think he did; when he spoke the now-infamous line, his voice was businesslike, but devoid of its usual emotion & cadence:
No, even Barack Obama doesn't believe his own bullshit anymore. But with his agenda in tatters, and nowhere to turn save right, he continues pushing the same failed remedies as always, defensible only with half-baked lies that make his supporters wince and his detractors howl.
But what else can he do? Like Richard Gere in "An Officer and a Gentleman", he's got nowhere else to go...