We know that Halloween is coming up in a few weeks. Are these quotes ones that will haunt Barack Obama in this election?
• “If I don’t have this done in three years, then there’s going to be a one-term proposition.”
In this quote, from a February 2009 interview on NBC’s “Today” show and widely repeated this year by taunting Republicans, Obama was referring to the pace of economic recovery.
Obama’s explanation, of course, is that his policies, including the $787 billion stimulus package, averted depression and made possible a slow but still incomplete comeback.
But the words haunt Obama because they were a reminder of how profoundly he and his economic team misunderstood the long-term nature of the crisis that confronted them upon taking office.
Christina Romer, then the West Wing’s economist, forecast in January 2009 that the unemployment rate would be around 5.5 percent by the third quarter of 2012 if a large stimulus package passed. It is currently 8.1 percent. Former budget director Peter Orszag explained after leaving office that economic models led the administration to expect that the economy would look like a “V” — a steep decline followed by a steep rebound — and instead it was more like an “L,” a sharp drop followed by a long period of flat growth.