The Politico highlights seven potential vulnerabilities for those seeking to protect the president’s image. Most are frankly personality based, and you either are able to look past such things or you can not. But the first hits people where they live:
He thinks he’s playing with Monopoly money
Economists and business leaders from across the ideological spectrum were urging the new president on last winter when he signed onto more than a trillion in stimulus spending and bank and auto bailouts during his first weeks in office. Many, though far from all, of these same people now agree that these actions helped avert an even worse financial catastrophe.
Along the way, however, it is clear Obama underestimated the political consequences that flow from the perception that he is a profligate spender. He also misjudged the anger in middle America about bailouts with weak and sporadic public explanations of why he believed they were necessary.
This is important not merely because it threatens to drain the fiscal oxygen from his party’s ambitious domestic social plans, but as Niall Ferguson points out, because it has real impacts in The Actual World:
(If) the United States succumbs to a fiscal crisis, as an increasing number of economic experts fear it may, then the entire balance of global economic power could shift. Military experts talk as if the president’s decision about whether to send an additional 40,000 troops to Afghanistan is a make-or-break moment. In reality, his indecision about the deficit could matter much more for the country’s long-term national security. Call the United States what you like—superpower, hegemon, or empire—but its ability to manage its finances is closely tied to its ability to remain the predominant global military power.
Budget some time for the Harvard professor and read why.
Bonus points to readers who can source this quote before following the link:
“My prediction is that politicians will eventually be tempted to resolve the [fiscal] crisis the way irresponsible governments usually do: by printing money, both to pay current bills and to inflate away debt. And as that temptation becomes obvious, interest rates will soar.”
Hint: The criticism was levied back in 2003, back before everything changed for the better.