Deadman's picture

    The dagbuzz for 3/11/09: Grading Obama's Presidency??

    So some jackass reporter decided to ask White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs to grade President Obama's performance after a whoppin' 50 days in office. Seriously? You could pass the question off as harmless, silly journalistic tripe, but I think it's symptomatic of a rush to judge and criticize anything and everything Obama is trying to accomplish. It's unhealthy, unproductive and unfair. The time to hand out grades will eventually come, but for now, how about giving the president a break and let him do his job.

    Image: Gibbs Grades Obama's First Fifty Days In Office


    FYI, apparently this video cannot be viewed without a Facebook login.

    thx for the heds up - i did not know that. that is stupid. i have added the youtube version.

    I am waiting for the day when someone is asked a question like that and response with 'that is a stupid question and I am not answering it'.  The reporters are just trying to get that high they had from the primary and general campaigns when all they had to do was report he said she said.  They also are in the down part of the build up tear down cycle for Obama.  Maybe we should look for more reporters email address (many papers post them) and email them ourselves and tell them that was a stupid question, or why don't you ask this.  I am typing this in a space that is about a third of what is normally available and it making it difficult to follow my own thoughts, dang, more caffine here please.

    Obama, Geithner get low grades from economists: report

    (Reuters) - President Barack Obama and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner received failing grades for their efforts to revive the world's largest economy, according to participants in the latest Wall Street Journal forecasting survey.

    A majority of the 49 economists polled said they were dissatisfied with the administration's economic policies, according to the paper, a stark contrast to Obama's popularity ratings with the general public.

    The economists' main criticism of the Obama team centered on delays in enacting key parts of plans to rescue banks, the paper said.

    The economists' negative ratings mark a turnaround in opinion, the paper said. In December, before Obama took office, three-quarters of respondents said the incoming administration's economic team was better than the departing team under former President George W. Bush.


    Two months passed already, and your rock superstar Obama didn't do diddly squad about economy. And what is the worst, he didn't even SAY how he is going to fix it. Probably, he just doesn't have a clue.

    They had 2 years of campaigning to prepare for the presidency.

    Obama looks like a deer caught in approaching car's light.


    what a joke. these are of course the economists who had no friggin idea the collapse was coming. i wish i could grade them.

    this is what i am talking about. how can you possibly grade obama's performance already? It's IMPOSSIBLE. It's been 50 days. the gears of government move slowly, esp. when the other side is obstructing and complaining every step of the way.

    and to say he hasn't done diddly squat so far shows zero awareness. he has made economic recovery his number one goal and has initiated or passed TONS of new plans to address the issue, including a $800b stimulus plan, a homeowner relief plan, the outline of a financial stability plan, a budget which includes a big change in our tax system and sets aside a significant amount of new money to address the banking situation as well as potential health care reform, etc., etc.

    I don't agree with everything Obama has done. Far from it. But to grade his performance already is asinine. I am willing to give his ideas a shot because the situation is so dire. If the cure ends up being worse than the disease, I will be the first to say Obama's spend-heavy agenda failed.

    btw, i know it's contradictory and hypocritical, given my call to give obama time before rushing to judgment, but I do think Geithner has been a disappointment. I'm talking more about his performance at crafting and selling his plans, then about actual substance, which is too early to fairly judge. This is just a hunch more than anything, but I think he's too in bed with the institutions that have failed us and will end up being a disaster.

    Be honest. Did you want to give GWB a chance? You guys said he wasn't your president at all, he wasn't even elected but selected by Supreme court. You just disagreed with all his policies, called him names, and wished him to fail.

    If we believe that Obama's policies are WRONG and that he is going in completely wrong direction, the longer we wait the worse it is going to be.

    Tell me what is his plan to fix the economy.

    We had a crisis because banks spend too much money that we didn't have on mortgages, RMBSs and CDOs.

    Now, Obama just want to give banks more money that we don't have to spend on mortgages, RMBSs and CDOs.

    Will it fix the problem or just make it worse?

    Wonder why no Republicans voted for the first stimulus bill (under Bush), for the second stimulus bill (under Obama), or for his overblown budget?

    Do you think they are just mean stupid racist rednecks?

    Economists were predicting the crisis:

    I predicted the crisis. My coworker predicted the crisis. Bush predicted the crisis. McCain predicted the crisis. Many people knew it was coming. Look it up.

    oh you are so blinded by ideology, it's impossible to talk to you.

    ive said earlier that i actually believed bush when he talked about compassionate conservatism. in many ways, that dovetails with my economic philosophy. of course, the manner in which he was elected was a joke and an outrage, but i would have been more than happy to embrace him as a president. unfortunately, we know the history that followed - the lies and deceit and secrecy, the war and all the miscalculations there, the extreme partisanship and lack of diplomacy abroad, the myopic focus on Wall Street and the ultrarich at the expense of the middle class, the persistent and ultimately costly deregulation.

    you are completely ignorant if you think the crisis was caused by irresponsible mortgages. that was merely the straw that broke the camel back.

    again, you're not even spewing the right facts. plenty of republicans did vote for the bush/paulson bailout bill as well as the earlier stimulus plan and three Repub senators did vote for the obama stimulus package.

    in terms of economists predicting the crisis, that is laughable. of course there were a few who did. And they are now getting their just rewards for those clearheaded warnings, but the vast, vast majority of economists, including our esteemed Fed chairmen, were totally taken off-guard.

    the only thing more laughable than your contention that economists predicted the crisis is your last one that Bush and McCain knew what was coming. you are talking about the same Bush and McCain who as recently as the middle of last year were lauding the strength of our economic fundamentals, right??

    if you meant to say that they were worried about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, then I can maybe buy that. But the idea that they predicted our current crisis??? that one statement alone just shows how knee-deep in ideological shit you are. i don't even know where to begin.

    I am not blinded by anything. I don't believe in any ideology just because it is Republicans or Democrats who promote it. I don't believe in god or communist revolution or whatever. I don't believe, period.

    I am not a Republican, that's for sure, but I am not a Democrat either.

    If you want to assign me a label, I am close to minarchists (minimum government + anarchy). And I think the late Marx theory is correct (convergence of private and common properties and peaceful evolution of capitalist society until it eventually becomes communism).

    Where did I say anything about irresponsible mortgages in this post??????

    I said "spending money we didn't have". That included prime as well as sub-prime mortgages (which were just the straw that broke that camel's back, you are right).

    "The most prominent relatively orthodox economist who foresaw this crisis was Robert Shiller, who originated the term Irrational Exuberance that was later attributed to Alan Greenspan."

    Greenspan used to talk about Irrational Exuberance, didn't he? Every smart person knew about bubble and burst cycles.

    You underestimate the importance of Fannie, Freddie, and FHLB. Those Government Sponsored Enterprises had implicit government guarantees for unlimited amount of money, they created the housing bubble from 1992 to 2004, and they poored more and more oil into the fire ever since, all the way saying "We are for affordable housing. Don't you dare touch us".

    Understand my point now?

    in terms of greenspan, that irrational exuberance phrase was used in large part in reference to the earlier dot-com bubble and not to the larger issue of our addiction to credit.

    greenspan, in fact, was one of the main culprits in creating the credit/debt bubble by keeping interest rates as low as he did for as long as he did. they didnt call him easy al for nothing. and he also made many statements as the housing situation started to weaken that suggested he had no clue as to the full extent of the problem. he may have seen one bubble but he totally missed the second, much more damaging one that arose due to his low interest rate policies.

    Fannie and Freddie and the low-quality mortgages they wrote certainly played a part in fanning the flames. but as DF has pointed out repeatedly, they ended up being a very small part of the subprime mortgage market.

    again, i believe housing was just the final inning in a decades-long developing pattern of fiscal irresponsibility, consumer overconsumption, and dangerous use of increasingly higher amounts of leverage.

    we were on an unsustainable path long before george w took office, and i certainly don't think one politican or one administration should bear the entire blame for our current situation, but his irresponsible policies certainly sped up our day of reckoning.

    bush's biggest sin on the economic front in my opinion was holding true to one pillar of the conservative agenda - lower taxes - without paying attention to the necessary fiscal responsibility pillar. he also showed an alarming disregard for regulation, which created the environment where these bankers could do whatever they wanted.

    See? We can be polite.

    You are close to the truth, but few corrections.

    1. Yes, housing bubble was the final inning, but it was 10 times bigger than anything before it (except Great Depression, of course). The amount of virtual money that all those securities with mortgages as collateral worth (all those RMBSs, CDOs, CDO2) was just unbelievable.

    2. You keep blaming Bush and his over-deregulation, but conveniently ignore the majority of Democrats in Congress (and many Republicans) who just closed their eyes and refused to regulate that bubble because of AFFORDABLE HOUSING.

    3. You still underestimate Fannie and Freddie. They singlehandedly created the bubble, then private banks joined them. In 1992, they wrapped like 82% of mortgages. By 2004, Fannie and Freddie still wrapped 48% of subprime mortgages and more than half of regular mortgages, then private banks joined the fray and just ran away with it. But Fannie and Freddie continued to poor more oil into fire, they never even slow down. Even in 2007 they still wrapped 24% of sub-primes. It was still big.

    4. Government can create bubbles (remember the Internet? or Great Depression?), and government can prevent bubbles by correct regulation as well. The problem was that stupid politicians didn't want to prevent that bubble for variety of reasons, and Democrats should share at least 50% of the blame.

    It is only fair, don't you think?

    i'm glad the tone has become civil even if we choose to still disagree on some key issues.

    just one point on no. 2, i have pointed out in past blogs - if i had time, id find the link - that democrats played a role in the housing crisis, not so much by making affordable housing a priority, but by making affordable homeOWNERSHIP a priority.

    we'll probably disagree here, but i think a prosperous nation has an obligation to provide its citizens with certain of life's 'necessities' - health care for one, and yes, shelter for another. i think in a country that enjoys as many riches as ours does, homelessness is a sad disgrace. where i think we went wrong is getting too caught up with homeownership as being the most desired policy goal. again, i've written about this a couple of times in the past.

    in terms of 4, there is of course blame to go around on both sides of the aisle (and probably a fair amount of blame should be reserved for the irresponsible conduct of actual individuals and corporations as well).

    i don't know where i would put the percentages exactly, but i know one thing, obama would hardly register. and that was my main point of the post in the first place. we don't know what the answers are, but he won the election and deserves a chance to put forward his agenda.

    Couple points.

    1. There is exactly the same number of homeless as it was in 1992. Even Fannie and Freddie wouldn't give a mortgage to a homeless person. Kinda negates your point. The problem with sub-primes was that low-income people owned much more expensive houses that they could afford, if they could afford a house at all. Rent-stabilized apartments would be more like it. Of course society should help people who are really desperate and need it.

    2. Obama definitely is related to the crisis. He was an organizer and the chief counsel for ACORN for many years. And what is one of the main goals of ACORN? Why, AFFORDABLE HOUSING, EQUAL HOUSING OPPORTUNITIES:

    "ACORN is working to make affordable housing available so people in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods can be homeowners. ACORN members demand more rehabilitation programs aimed at developing affordable housing and increased production of affordable housing."

    ACORN has many 100,000s of active members who organize literally MILLIONS. They and other grass-root movements played a HUGE role in forcing politicians and private banks to give sub-prime mortgages to minorities. They used to boycott banks and set up picket lines, they intimidated and demanded. "If you are against affordable housing, you are a racist".

    Obama wasn't born yesterday, he was a part of Democratic politics for 20+ years.

    You agree that Democrats were part of the problem and have to share the blame, therefore Obama and his pals should be hold responsible as well.

    Simple "I am sorry. I screwed up. We all did" should be enough. But the same ACORN continues to intimidate banks to stop foreclosures and to continue refinancing of those poor sub-primes.


    You keep conflating things that are disparate.  Homeless does not equal low income.  Neither does a housing loan for someone on the lower end of the income spectrum automatically make it a "subprime" loan.  See here:

    Subprime could also refer to a security for which a return above the "prime" rate is adhered, also known as C-paper. The term subprime often correlates with non-conforming loans, or those that do not meet Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac guidelines. Those guidelines may be the size of the loan, a high debt-to-income ratio or lack of income documentation provided.

    You also continually make vague assertions without backing them up whatsoever.

    There is exactly the same number of homeless as it was in 1992.

    What does this mean?  The same nominal figure?  The same percentage per capita?  Nationwide?  Who collected this data?  Over what period of time?  Who knows, but it certainly doesn't negate anyone's point because it doesn't mean anything.

    The real problems began not because of people on the low income end of the spectrum, but because organizations like Countrywide were increasingly pushing bigger loans than were necessary on prime lenders.  To make this simple for you: They were pushing subprime loans on people who were well-qualified buyers because they were earning bigger and bigger returns by doing so.  Some were more prudent than others.  There is a reason that Wells Fargo was in a better position than others to take over Wachovia.  Fannie and Freddie weren't making these loans, though they were buying them.  After a while they couldn't keep up, but that didn't stop the private sector from betting the farm on sweet, sweet subprime returns.

    This ACORN nonsense was put to bed months ago.  Perhaps the news didn't make it through your tinfoil hat.  Obama is not a crypt-socialist and ACORN didn't cause the housing bubble.  Blaming the housing bubble on community advocacy groups like ACORN and "minorities" is ridiculous.  That's the BIG TRUTH, like it or not.

    Here you go. No more civil discussion. Name calling and nitpicking.

    You really made it simple. Private sector is bad. Capitalism is bad. So, you are for socialism. And you are for Obama. But Obama is not a socialist. And I am an idiot wearing a tinfoil hat.

    Let me see. Government gives people tax breaks when they pay interest on mortgages. Government gives tax breaks if you build commercial real estate or rent-stabilized houses as well. Government doesn't tax profits when you sell a house if you buy another one right away. Government doesn't tax your house after you die (up to 1 million or something). Government gives tax breaks to banks that give mortgages. Government gives trillions to Fannie, Freddie, FHLB to guarantee and buy mortgages from banks. Government gives tax breaks (and $800 million recently) to ACORN. Government lets banks to increase their leverage to 1:30. Government refuses to regulate anything. Government talks about American dream and promotes home ownership.

    Government, government, and did I mention government???


    Democrats and Republicans all have to share the blame.


    Could you please define socialism? Because what I think it means and what you think it means are apparently not the same.

    Do you have any substance to post except usual nitpicking?

    I am a Marxist, btw, and I believe that capitalism will eventually become communism. It is a long evolutionary process, and we are in the middle of it.

    When Karl Marx became older and wiser, he realized that capitalism is the highest form of economy. Private property will exist forever, but society will gradually have more and more control over private property, until it becomes common property, and we will live in communism.

    I don't believe in violent communist revolution. I don't believe in forced socialism which the government is pushing down citizens throat either. I have been living in the Soviet Union until I was 33 year old.

    Just found a good article by Ludwig von Mises. Take a look:



    Since when is asking for a clarification "nitpicking?" I don't have anything of substance to add because I don't understand the economy all that well and when I don't know something, I ask questions instead of changing the subject. And then I listen to people who have more knowledge than I do. In this case, I think Deadman and DF are doing just fine. But I think that you are working from a wholly separate set of assumptions than they are, so I thought if you could define socialism, I would have a better idea of where you are coming from.

    Me bad.

    Definition of socialism? Kinda easy:

    Socialism refers to a broad set of economic theories of social organization advocating public or state ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods, and a society characterized by equality for all individuals, with a fair or egalitarian method of compensation.

    Socialists mainly share the belief that capitalism unfairly concentrates power and wealth among a small segment of society that controls capital, creates an unequal society, and does not provide equal opportunities for everyone in society.

    Obama is clearly a socialist by any definition.


    State control of the means of production is my understanding of socialism as well. So, I'm pretty confused when you insist that Obama is a socialist "by any definition."

    I don't see where the state controls much of the production and I don't see where Obama is suggesting that it should. I mean, state prisons produce license plates, so I guess that's socialism. But they've been doing it for about 150 years, and so far our democracy is safe.

    I'd take you a lot more seriously if you would make a serious argument.

    Nationalizing AIG - state control
    Nationalizing health care - state control
    Nationalizing banks - state control
    Nationalizing census - state control

    The government now controls all companies that accepted bailout money.

    "Socialists mainly share the belief that capitalism unfairly concentrates power and wealth among a small segment of society that controls capital, creates an unequal society, and does not provide equal opportunities for everyone in society."

    Do you really think that Obama disagrees with this statement? Do you disagree with it?

    If you agree, you are a socialist, it's that simple. Being a socialist is not like having sexually transmitted disease. You can admit of being a socialist, it is OK. Get out of closet.

    Tongue out


    Nationalizing AIG - AIG got bailout money prior to January 20th.

    Nationalizing health care - Obama is not suggesting that we nationalize health care. Please read his plan.

    Nationalizing banks - I've heard a lot of economists suggesting that ultimately this is what will have to happen temporarily. I haven't heard Obama suggest it.

    Nationalizing census - Unless you're starting a company called "People Counting for a New Century, I'm pretty sure nobody else is available to take the census.

    I'm bored now, so I won't be responding again. Your arguments are ridiculous.

    I respond to this post only because the lengthy if futile discussion has pushed us to THE OTHER SIDE.

    Thank you michael the troll for enabling this moment and to Orlando, DF, and Deadman for ecouraging the troll who enabled the moment who elected the leaders etc.

    Not there yet.

    Feels like a New York studio

    A slummy New York studio

    Shut down all the garbage compactors on the detention level! (wish I'd had the quote back at TPM.)

    Is it much farther, Papa Smurf?

    Yes it is!

    Obama = communist = scum

    Now filibustering. Shall I read the phone book?

    Or collapse in a faint like Mr. Smith?

    I will soldier on

    Until there is nothing left to say

    Which is never because there is alway something left to say

    I just realized that this will never work because the margin keeps expanding. There is no other side at dagblog. There is only dagblog. For ever until infinity.

    Signing out...


    I can see my house from here!

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