On the Road to Economic Recovery (c) Matt Davies
To counter the pessimistic observations of Republicans who haven't been able to come up with their own answer to the economic mess they left to President Obama, he trotted out ever-optimistic Vice President
In a long speech at the
At the same time, he asked for public patience on what he called "a two-year marathon" in which only "the nine-mile mark," or about one-third of the way, has been reached, with only
In the act's first 200 hundred days, Biden reported, 10 specific projects he assigned to Obama cabinet officers as head of a new
In Biden's assigned task of accentuating the positive, however, he said nothing about the unemployment rate, which rose to 9.7 percent in August and is the cause of much of the continued public pessimism. And in all the heat generated by the health care debate, his claim that the stimulus is paying off itself faces an uphill climb.
"Instead of talking about the beginning of a depression," he boasted, "we are talking about the end of a recession" only eight months after he and Obama took office. As for criticism that the Recovery Act "is simply a grab bag of different programs," Biden said the fact that it "is multifaceted doesn't reflect a lack of design; it is the design."
The economic collapse was "so complex and so wounded," he said, "that reinvigorating one segment alone, or using one tool alone, would never do all that needed to be done. The Recovery Act is not a single silver bullet," he said, "but it is silver buckshot."
From the first days of the
Well known and often criticized for undisciplined long-windedness, Biden had teleprompters on the platform on either side of him as he spoke, and he referred to them throughout. But he could not refrain from folksy asides, such as his observation that, "as my Grandpop would say, 'No one horse can carry the whole load.' " And in a brief question period, he filibustered as if he were still in the
But he seemed comfortable in his new harness as vice president. When asked by the Brookings president, Strobe Talbott, to comment on the health-care reform debate now raging in the country, Biden noted that Obama would be addressing
His own specialty, he said after speaking nearly an hour on the economic recovery, was foreign policy, not health care. He concluded with a grin that with that, "I yield the floor to the president, as I always do."
Though vice presidents traditionally are known for doing the dirty work of attacking the opposition, Biden in this case was wearing his salesman's hat on a recovery not yet widely perceived in the country. At the least, his marathon metaphor does make a credible argument for waiting for the race to run its course.
Economy: End of The Recession Around the Corner?
Paul A. Samuelson
The 2006-2009 recession is likely over now (or very soon). So says Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. At most central banks around the globe the same story is now being proclaimed. Just what does this mean? And what does it not necessarily mean?
Reports Show Mixed Results for Obama's Stimulus
One report shows that the GDP rose about 2.3 percentage points. In Washington, talk of the $787 billion stimulus package has been largely overshadowed by healthcare reform. A recent report by the Council of Economic Advisers could help the Democratic cause, at least when it comes to defending the administration's decisions on fiscal recovery. But taken in conjunction with a Government Accountability Office report that examines states' use of stimulus funding the overall picture remains a mixed bag.
Free Enterprise is Key to Economic Recovery
Kenneth T. Walsh
Tom Donohue, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, has big plans. In mid-October, his organization, which is one of the most influential advocates for business in the United States, will launch a 'Campaign for Free Enterprise,' a multiyear effort (at an estimated cost of at least $25 million annually) to educate Americans about capitalism and explain the importance of free enterprise.
Pecora Hearings a Model for Financial Crisis Investigation
Congress could learn from Pecora's 1930s investigation of the stock market crash. The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission -- created by Congress in May to determine and analyze the origins of the current financial crisis -- is charged with examining no fewer than 20 of its specific causes, including the roles of fraud and abuse, credit rating agencies, and corporate compensation structures. The commission must also examine the collapses of major financial institutions like Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns.
The Case for Economic Irrelevance
A recession may stunt more than material growth. It can also drain intellectual curiosity. For economic pressure can lead people to settle for what only seems to be security instead of following their dreams. Which can be a tragedy for both the individual and a society that depends on people reaching ever higher, rather than not settling for what only seems safe.
Why Obama Won't Be Able to Reform Wall Street
Listening to President Obama's heartfelt, well-intentioned, but ultimately naive speech on financial reform, my mind kept flashing on a story I heard the last time Washington, in the wake of the Enron scandal, promised to reform Wall Street.
Barack Obama Must See Michael Moore's New Movie (and So Must You)
With his new movie, 'Capitalism: A Love Story,' Michael Moore is riding the wave of the collapse of trust in our country's financial system. The film is a withering indictment of the current economic order, covering everything from Wall Street's casino mentality to for-profit prisons, from Goldman Sachs' sway in Washington to the poverty-level pay of many airline pilots, from the tidal wave of foreclosures to the tragic consequences of runaway greed.
(c) 2009 Jules Witcover