Davos: Obama never understood that America needed a good economy
Terry Moran, a reporter who made his bones covering the Clinton White House, seems to know a thing or two about what successful economies do to political leaders' political prospects. He was around and must remember when James Carville coined the winning Clinton campaign phrase, 'It's the economy, stupid!'
So now he's at Davos, utterly stupefied with deja vu as global business leaders from big rich companies there beam with delight at President Trump's restoration of the U.S. economy, writing.
In conversations with business and political leaders gathered at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, there is almost zero mention of the controversies which consume coverage of Trump in America.
Instead, people talk about the real possibility now that growth in the U.S. economy could hit 4 percent this year — a positively Clintonian benchmark. The impact worldwide would be tremendous.
We forget what that kind of economy means. Clinton averaged roughly 4 percent GDP growth. Record budget surpluses. Record job growth. Real household incomes up across the board. A skyrocketing stock market.
Money in peoples’ pockets—for college, for retirement, for vacations. Businesses booming. New ones starting. And the USA once again the engine pulling the world economy.
His piece (which over-praises Clinton a bit) leaves out the flip, or shadow side to the central point he's making: That unlike Trump, the Obama administration never thought the U.S. needed a good economy.
President Obama thought stimulus packages, welfare, and free stuff packages and Obamacare would serve as an adequate substitute.
He left tax cuts for the birds, thinking no one would ever take them up after he bloated up the government, because nobody would ever have the nerve to reduce it, let alone trust people with more money in their pockets.
To Obama, people didn't need money, they needed programs, with bureaucrats monitoring and administering the goodies, rewarding the 'good' and punishing the 'bad' (such as the tea parties). it's why he started so many of them. It's why he hired so many bureaucrats and took over so much - from health care to government land.
All he refused to do was cut taxes. But by leaving tax cuts on the table, it was an easy thing for Trump to snap up the opportunity, work with Congress on a tax cut plan, and just run with it. In a nation pent-up with uncut taxes, the result has been absolutely stellar, just as it was in the 1980s, an era when Obama was out focused on one-way nuclear disarmament from the U.S. alone. He didn't think there was anything to a good economy.
Clinton did, however, and tended to expand government more incrementally as well as manipulate monetary policy, which brought the same booming economy. He also was lucky with the 'peace dividend' that cut defense spending as well as the dawn of the tech boom. He had enough memory of the Jimmy Carter era to know that a bad economy and obliviousness to it was death to Democratic political prospects.
By the time Obama took office, memories had faded and Obama re-launched the same kinds of policies that made Jimmy Carter and other Democrats so hated. The result of course was the same. And Obama operatives now plaintively claim with zero credibility that the boom America is experiencing now was really an Obama acccomplishment as if they had ever cared about a good economy at all. Up until then, they insisted Obama led some sort of economic recovery.
Moran knew better, and to his credit, laid it out like it is: It's all Trump.
Trump knew the U.S. needed a good economy. Obama didn't. Moran may echo 'it's the economy, stupid,' but that's just Clintonese nostalgia. In America today, it's known as 'Make America Great Again.'