Commentary Magazine


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Defining Recovery Down

In an interview with NPR, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner – in making the most robust case he could for the President’s American Jobs Act –issued this promise: “if Congress were to act on this bill, it would have a substantial, powerful effect on strengthening the economy that slowed quite a bit. And that would translate into jobs for hundreds of thousands of American workers at a time when we need that.”

That’s it.

The president’s long-awaited, must-pass, half-trillion dollar plan – a plan so important it needed to be delivered before a joint session of Congress – will only create, according to Obama’s own Treasury Secretary, hundreds of thousands of jobs.

Now I suppose that if you’re coming off a month (August) in which the economy created zero jobs, hundreds of thousands seems like quite a lot. But in fact, this figure highlights just how bad things are for our country and for the Obama administration, when the best they can offer on behalf of their costly, historic, you-should-have-passed-this-yesterday jobs plan is (maybe) a few hundred thousand jobs.

Years ago, the late, great Daniel Patrick Moynihan used the phrase “defining deviancy down.”

With Barack Obama, Tim Geithner, and the rest of the best and the brightest, we are now “defining recovery down.”

I suspect come November 2012, voters won’t be terribly impressed.