by Jay Johansen | Oct 16, 2009
Shortly after his election, President Obama proposed an "economic stimulus package" to help the economy. His "economic recovery team" predicted that if nothing was done, unemployment would reach 9% before the economy could begin to recover on its own, and would not start down until the end of 2010. But with the Obama plan, unemployment would peak at only 8% and would start coming down by the end of 2009.
In reality, in September 2009 (the latest numbers available as I write this), unemployment is 9.8%. That is, unemployment is almost 2 points higher than what obama said it would be if Congress approved his plan.
I was going to draw a graph of this but someone else already has, here.
Obama's opponents say that unemployment is so high because of Obama's policies. They say that if he had just left it alone, unemployment would have peaked at 9% or less, but with his policies, we're headed for unemployment over 10%.
But let's give Obama the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps without his plan unemployment now would be even worse.
But one thing is indisputable: When Obama and his advisors made their predictions of what unemployment would be with and without the Obama plan, they were completely wrong. In real life, Obama had no idea what unemployement would be. Maybe he honestly thought that his predictions were accurate. Maybe he had no idea and it was all a bluff. Maybe he knew what the real numbers would be and it was a con game. I don't know.
I'm not saying that the Republicans or anybody else could have made better predictions. There are people out there who did predict it right and are proudly trumpteting that fact. But did they really know, or did they just make a lucky guess?
But whatever the reasons for the wrong predictions, one conclusion seems obvious to me: If politicians can't or won't accurately predict the results of their policies, we should not be trusting them to run the economy.
© 2009 by Jay Johansen