Economic and fiscal signals from the US are not so much mixed as liquidised.
Although The Slog offended many people by asking some time ago ‘Is President Obama a jerk?’, I am bound to observe that the evidence in support of this hypothesis gets stronger by the hour. The Chief Executive told his audience yesterday:
“The American people will never again be asked to foot the bill for Wall Street’s mistakes. There will be no more taxpayer-funded bailouts. Period.”
Bollocks. There will be lots of taxpayer money thrown at anything that looks like going under. And he’s still dithering about the Warren appointment – proof that he’s more worried about Geithner’s feelings than keeping the country safe from Lloyd Blankfein.
Last night Bernanke followed up his doom and gloom – the week after the Prezz said everything was just fine because exports were up. He told Americans there’d be further stimulus. Two days before, the Administration announced it was winding up a whole bunch of stimulus procedures. The week before that the Obama mortgage rescue scheme was shown to be a shambles.
Last week Obama broadcast to the Nation his sincere view that economic reconstruction and a clearer export focus were the answer. He just omitted to mention where the money was coming from – and how it might happen in time to decrease the deficit somehow. Ben Bernanke wants it to come from Congress – aka the taxpayer – saying ‘the economy needs you to keep spending’. This is more or less what he used to say to consumers, so he might just as well take out the middle man and cut taxes. Except that with States going bust all over the place, the last thing the Treasury needs is a cut in tax income.
Much of this is mire stored up from eight years of the economy being run by Bush’s free-market mates – it’s pointless to blame Bush personally, as he couldn’t run an errand – but Obama has had over twenty months to get into this now. He lacks steel, hires badly and fails to show that his Government can back up rhetoric with policy.
Rash promises have proved to be empty – and now Barack Obama is running on empty. American economic policy is all over the shop, and leadership is absent. A new US leader needs to emerge…and fast.