Over the weekend, Austan Goolsbee went on the chit chat shows to tell people that the economy is out of the emergency zone, that slipping into a Great Depression is no longer what we all fear and that the government isn't going to do anything else dramatic to put Americans back to work, to say nothing of raising wages and living standards.
So... this is the recovery? This is it? Obama seriously looks at America as it is now and shrugs? Or maybe he'd like to do more but doesn't think it's possible with the Republicans in congress, or maybe he thinks the debt is the right issue right now or maybe he doesn't believe that there's anything left to be done.
Atrios says that the Administration is now looking for unemployment slightly below 8% by the end of 2012. To my mind, unemployment in the high 7s at the end of next year is evidence of continued crisis. It will mean continued stagnant wages and continued diminishment of the American standard of living. We simply deserve more growth than that and if the private sector can't provide it, then the government must.
It also seems to me that Obama can't go into 2012 with an aloof, "everything's fine" or "we've done all we can do," message. I tend to be better on policy than politics but this kind of attitude actually reminds me of the one that turned George HW Bush into a one-termer. I'm not predicting Obama's fate here (I don't see a star like Clinton emerging from the Republican ranks) but Obama is striking me as either lazy, unimaginative, uncaring or just completely out of touch.