Friday, March 20, 2009

Holy Good News, Batman!

There's been some interesting bits of good news about the economy lately:

January Retail Sales Higher Than Expected

February Retail Sales Hold Steady, Despite Expectations

New-home construction logs unexpected gain

Stocks record 5th gain in six sessions

New jobless claims fall more than expected to 646K

This leads to an interesting question with various schools of thought.

The question: When and how much of it is Barack Obama's fault, and at what point can he fully take responsibility (credit AND blame) for the economy without claiming the mistakes of his predecessor?

Many rank-and-file Republicans are doing exactly what the Democrats did with Bush; hoping the economy doesn't do well, talking down positive reports, hyping negative ones. They would say that much economic woe (like the stock market fall, which can't be hailed as Bush's fault, as it responds to short-term stimuli) is Obama's fault, while any economic gain can't be to Obama's credit because his policies haven't had anything other than token effect on morale.

Democrats, naturally, want every success to be Obama's, and failure to be Bush's.

To me, it makes sense that a lot of long-term factors can't yet be Obama's fault (for example, he can't claim credit for January retail sales) and the stock market is short-term enough to blame/credit him. I don't have an answer to the question, but it can go either way, depending on how the economy progresses.

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