I don’t think the terrible May jobs report means the Obama presidency is doomed anymore than I thought the killing of OBL meant re-election was in the bag. But another 18 months of economic muddling through – high unemployment, stagnant wages, dead housing, slow GDP growth – would certainly make the GOP nomination one worth winning. Like REALLY worth winning – let’s put it that way. And the history of economies after bank crises show the “muddling though” scenario is a common one.
But it is also interesting to note that White House economists told me previously that they didn’t think the U.S. economy would fall prey to that trap. No wonder the administration used so much political capital on health and financial reform rather than on job creation in 2009 and 2010. My chats with folks from the White House always showed them to be eternally optimistic — eternally and overly optimistic is turns out. They were as surprised as anyone that Recovery Summer 2010 was a bust. And Summer 2011 is looking to be about the same. Yet there’s no sign the administration will change course and adopt some common-sense growth policies such as cutting taxes on corporations and capital, slashing regulation and offering a big downpayment on debt reduction.