Saturday, June 4, 2011

Obama's economic analysis: Remembering the past

Given bad economic reports of late, President Obama is again emphasizing how bad things were when he took office.

"This economy took a big hit," Obama told Chrysler employees in Toledo on Friday, referring to the recession that hit in 2008. "You know, it's just like if you had a bad illness, if you got hit by a truck, it's going to take a while for you to mend."

"And that's what's happened to our economy," Obama said a day after an uptick in the nation's unemployment rate. "It's taking a while to mend."

Republicans, meanwhile, say they are living in the here-and-now, and that the economic news is getting worse because of Obama policies.

"Under President Obama's watch, Washington has tied the hands of small business owners with regulations that have made it harder to grow, and has spent money that it doesn't have, leading to sustained unemployment over 8% and a national debt of more than $14 trillion," said House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va.

Obama has long reminded audiences that he came into office under a recession that included a near-meltdown of the financial system.

By Charles Dharapak, AP
In recent months, Obama has been able to point to encouraging statistics, such as a rising stock market, major job growth, and a declining unemployment rate.

That hasn't been the case this week. The Labor Department reported that the unemployment rate increased from 9% to 9.1% in May, as the economy generated a much-smaller-than-anticipated 54,000 jobs. That report followed bad news about further downturns in the housing and manufacturing sectors.

So Obama is back to emphasizing the longer view, relative to his taking office in Jan. 20, 2009.

"Even though our economy has created more than two million private sector jobs over the past 15 months and continues to grow, we're facing some tough headwinds," Obama said in his weekly radio address today. "Lately, it's high gas prices, the earthquake in Japan, and unease about the European fiscal situation. That will happen from time to time. There will be bumps on the road to recovery."

Still, as time goes on, Obama takes more and,to read:

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