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OBAMA'S RHETORIC IS THE REAL 'CATASTROPHE'

 THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

Feb 13/09. President Barack Obama has turned fear mongering into an art form. He has repeatedly raised the specter of another Great Depression. First, he did so to win votes in the November election. He has done so again recently to sway congressional votes for his stimulus package.

In his remarks, every gloomy statistic on the economy becomes a harbinger of doom. As he tells it, today's economy is the worst since the Great Depression. Without his Recovery and Reinvestment Act, he says, the economy will fall back into that abyss and may never recover.

This fear mongering may be good politics, but it is bad history and bad economics. It is bad history because our current economic woes don't come close to those of the 1930s.

Auto production last year declined by roughly 25%. That looks good compared to 1932, when production shriveled by 90%.

Mr. Obama's analogies to the Great Depression are not only historically inaccurate, they're also dangerous. Repeated warnings from the White House about a coming economic apocalypse aren't likely to raise consumer and investor expectations for the future. In fact, they have contributed to the continuing decline in consumer confidence that is restraining a spending pickup. Beyond that, fear mongering can trigger a political stampede to embrace a "recovery" package that delivers a lot less than it promises. A more cool-headed assessment of the economy's woes might produce better policies.

FULL ARTICLE>   http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123457303244386495.html

 

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