Gramm Puts Economy in Context. Gets Shredded
Despite having a great track record conservatives love we know why Phil Gramm’s Presidential ambitions never amounted to much. He says impolitic things like this:
“You’ve heard of mental depression; this is a mental recession,” he said of polls showing that most Americans were deeply pessimistic about the economy.
“We have sort of become a nation of whiners,” he said. “You just hear this constant whining, complaining about the loss of competitiveness, America in decline” despite a boom in U.S. exports and continued growth.
Gramm later clarified saying he meant political leaders “who blame speculators and oil companies for high oil prices and yet have no proposal to produce more energy here at home.”
On the first part I agree with him about the perceived state of the economy. It’s not great; it’s stagnant. But it’s not as dire as MSM headlines want you to believe. If we are in a recession it’s not deep. It’s certainly not as bad as the one that helped Bill Clinton win the Presidency in 1992. Unemployment hit 7.8% in June 1992. The current unemployment rate is 5.5%. It hit 6% in December 2002 when the economy was getting over the aftereffects of the dot com bubble and the Sep. 11 attacks. Yet then the vibe from the MSM wasn’t as pessimistic. Gramm was looking at the macroeconomic numbers and putting them into context. It’s not like Gramm thinks the economy is hunky-dory, telling the Washington Post [via memeorandum]:
“Look, the economy is bad. It is far below what we Americans have a right to expect, but we are not in a recession,” he said. “We may or may not have one in the future, but based on the data we are not in a recession. But that does not mean all this talk does not have a psychological impact.”
The DNC, the Obama campaign, and even Sen. John McCain jumped on Gramm for pointing out facts because they all want to be in touch with the anxieties facing voters.
As for the U.S. being a “nation of whiners” I think Gramm did mean a good many people are complaining instead of figuring out what they can do to help themselves. Gramm is an old school conservative who would rather hammer out a solution to a problem than stew in personal feelings. In Gramm’s clarification he is right that political leaders have preferred hunting down scapegoats instead of facing the issue at hand. High energy prices are due to not enough supply meeting increasing demand. The solution is obvious: find more energy. The U.S. still runs on fossil fuels so increased drilling and exploration is needed. Newt Gingrich and the Republicans have ran on this issue. The other party gives the country little.
Instead of leading we get excuses from Speaker Pelosi, Sen. Harry Reid, and Senate Democrats about why increased oil drilling won’t do anything about energy prices. Sen. Menendez (D-NJ) took his economic ignorance to another level when on the Senate floor he demanded that oil produced domestically only be sold in the U.S. He fails to understand oil is bought and sold on the world market. Changes in U.S. supply change world oil prices. It doesn’t matter where U.S. oil goes or where Americans buy it from. Such appearances of economic stupidity show Democrats don’t really care about high oil prices. They think a growing economy can magically change course and endure continued prosperity based on conservation (wear more sweaters in the winter), the sun, and the wind.
“Obama Mocks ‘Whiners’ Comments by McCain Adviser”