White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs seems to have got himself into trouble by saying yesterday: “I think by virtually any measure, our economy is in a better place than it was two years ago”.
On many levels, he does have a point. Two years ago we were facing financial Armageddon. On September 18, 2008 Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke met with key US legislators and told them: “… we may not have an economy on Monday.”
The biggest financial crisis the world has known in decades happened on Bush’s watch. Clinton bequeathed Bush a surplus, policies were pursued which squandered it – Dick Cheney did say that deficits don’t matter after all.
America was not alone in its policies. Most developed countries made similar mistakes and were in absolute dire straits two years ago.
How best to proceed? Stimulus or cuts? Democrat or Republican? Of course that’s all up for debate. But although Gibbs’ turn of phrase was perhaps unfortunate, fundamentally he has a point. Give all of us the situation today rather than our darkest days two years ago, where our entire economic structure was at risk. We still have bank accounts and there’s a recovery, however fragile.
Neither political party exactly has an exemplary record here…