What Me Worry

Today President Bush took the phrase out of touch to whole new level, by suggesting during his Thursday press conference that the economy isn’t heading into a recession, preferring instead to call it an economic slowdown. When asked if the bad economy will lead to the defeat of John McCain in the fall, the president said, “I’m concerned about the economy because I’m concerned about working Americans, concerned about people who want to put money on the table and save for their kids’ education. That’s why I’m concerned about the economy. I want Americans working. And there’s no question the economy has slowed down. You just cited another example of slowdown. I don’t think we’re headed to a recession, but no question we’re in a slowdown.”

Bush defended the recently passed economic stimulus package, and said that no more stimuli are forthcoming. “And that’s why we acted, and acted strongly, with over $150 billion worth of pro-growth economic incentives — mainly money going into the hands of our consumers…And so we’ll see the effects of this pro-growth package. I know there’s a lot of — here in Washington, people are trying to — stimulus package two and all that stuff. Why don’t we let stimulus package one, which seemed like a good idea at the time, have a chance to kick in?”

Bush and the Congress don’t really believe that all it is going to take to turn around the economy is a relatively paltry $152 billion? The only thing this stimulus package was designed to do is inoculate both Democrats and Republicans up for reelection in the fall against charges that they are responsible for the poor economy. President Bush is concerned about his legacy, and he doesn’t want to be remembered for doing nothing about a poor economy, as his father did before him.

Even the president’s own people are talking grimly about the economy, but that hasn’t stopped Mr. Misplaced Optimism from once again ignoring reality. One of the president’s most consistent aspects of his personality for the past seven years has been his superhuman ability to ignore bad news, and keep pressing on with his warped version of reality. It is no surprise to see that a man who failed in business for all of his adult life has no idea how to interpret economic data.

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