Small Economic Gains Met With Cautious Optimism
Mr. Obama’s economic advisors have been promoting the few small gains that the economy is currently making. A rapidly rising stock market and a modest uptick in home sales, coupled with an economy that only shrank by 1% last quarter, would normally not qualify as good news.
Yet, in these dismal economic times, facing stiff opposition from Congressional Republicans and Blue Dog Democrats, Mr. Obama’s administration finds it necessary to push back against a pervasive background of hand-wringing and teeth gnashing.
While stating that economic recover is nigh, President Obama also cautions that the road to recovery will be a rough and arduous one. With economic losses topping $14 trillion dollars, many people are anxious for the recovery to begin. However, with unemployment expected to rise above 10% and strong resistance to a proposed second stimulus, the road to recovery may be longer than we are currently being led to believe.
Determining how much of a role the economic stimulus package played in achieving these modest gains is difficult to determine. The data is very complicated and hard to sort. Some economic experts argue that the economy only experienced modest shrinkage because the stimulus money helped stave off many layoffs at the state level.
In addition, increased unemployment benefits, a one time payment to social security recipients, and a tax credit also contributed to modest gains in disposable income. Yet, the impact of the stimulus money may have already reached its peak, and any further benefits might be negligible.
Most economists agree that the country is in uncharted waters; and the immediate and distant future of the economy is hard to predict. Our long national nightmare continues, while the morning is still a few hours away.