The problem isn’t that we are still in a recession, but that we haven’t had much of arecovery. The CNBC hosts note that the NBER warns that most recoveries start with sub-par growth, but we’re more than a year out from the end of the Great Recession and growth is slowing, not accelerating. Even Reuters expects to see less growth in 2011 (2.4%) than they predict in 2010 (2.7%), and neither year will have the kind of growth that creates large numbers of new jobs.
People just aren't feeling it. Moreover, they aren't particularly hopeful they will be feeling it anytime soon either. In a CNBC townhall today a woman confronted President Obama with precisely that sentiment: (See video here)
Monday's town hall meeting started off on a sour note when the first questioner from the audience, a woman who said she voted for him, said she is "deeply disappointed with where I am now."The Washington Post reports that Obama appeared at ease when addressing the negative questions from the audience. I would argue this point. He appeared at ease but his answers offered little in substance and what little substance there was - well- it was the same litany of legislative accomplishments nearly everyone hates. For example, to the woman who expressed deep disappointment with where she was now, Obama started off stating she was the type person he wanted to help. He noted that she was one who probably played by the rules, lived within her means etc etc. He proceeds to tell her that he has protected her from the credit card companies. Hello? If she lived within her means why would she need protection from the credit card companies? She wasn't feeling it because Obama's legislative accomplishments aren't designed to help people like her. Everyone knows this yet Obama can't pass the opportunity to list his "accomplishments."
"My husband and I thought we were beyond the hot dog and beans of our lives. ... Is this my new reality?" she asked.
"I understand your frustration," Obama said. He defended his administration's efforts to help the middle class, listing achievements such as better protection for mortgage loans and health insurance for those with preexisting conditions.
But the hits continued.
There was, however, a question that threw him:
The one question that seemed to throw him off was about the "tea party." A Georgetown University MBA student asked him to comment about the conservative movement's calls for the administration to get the budget under control.
After saying that the United States has a "noble tradition" of being "helpfully skeptical of government," Obama went on the attack. He said members of the tea party are "misidentifying sort of who the culprits are here." He said the government has been dealing with two tax cuts that weren't paid for and two wars that weren't paid for -- alluding to actions by the Bush administration.
He challenged the tea party to come up with specific tax cuts or ways to control spending, rather than just talking about the need to reduce the $4 trillion deficit and hoping that "magically somehow things are going to work."
"We're not going to be able to solve the problem just by yelling at each other," he said.
As to the last part I would suggest Obama take some age old advice, "Physician heal thyself." As to the first part, the tea party is well aware who the culprits are and profess almost daily that they plan to hold big-spending Republicans accountable. Anyone remember that election last week in Delaware? As angry as tea party members have been at Republicans however, they know without a doubt who the truly dangerous culprits are as well:
Some pictures are worth several trillion words.