Too much hope?

Part of being an effective leader is reacting to changes and adjusting the direction of your initiatives. This was one area where the left pounded President Bush, with the argument that he was either too stupid or too stubborn to change his mind. Given that perspective consider the following three stories and think about what they reveal about the mindset of those making decisions.

First up we have an analysis by Ed Morrissey of comments by Christina Romer, the head of the White House Council of Economic Advisers.

Thirteen months ago, Christina Romer and the aggregated economic advisers of Barack Obama claimed that the stimulus package they demanded from Congress would curtail unemployment by stimulating the economy, keeping the unemployment rate under 8% in 2009 and forcing in down throughout 2010. Yesterday, Romer essentially admitted that her analysis had completely failed. Now, even with the 2009 Porkulus and another stimulus bill Obama will push for Congressional approval, the US economy will only generate an anemic 95,000 jobs a month in 2010 — not enough to keep up with population growth

So this means that unemployment is actually going to get worse in 2010 according to White House estimates. Given that estimates from this White House have previously failed to anticipate bad economic conditions, that’s horrible news–it could be worse than these already negative expectations. Many pundits agree that the ability for Democrats to maintain strong majorities in Congress in the 2010 midterm elections hinges on the economic conditions. If unemployment is going to get worse, that is spells trouble for Democrats (and incumbents in general) in November.

If that’s the case, how might the Obama administration respond? We’ve heard the term pivot being bandied about. A pivot to job creation would seem prudent. But what do we hear as the major sound bite this morning? That President Obama is now agnostic on the idea of raising taxes on people making less than $250,000 a year.

President Barack Obama said he is “agnostic” about raising taxes on households making less than $250,000 as part of a broad effort to rein in the budget deficit.

Obama, in a Feb. 9 Oval Office interview, said that a presidential commission on the budget needs to consider all options for reducing the deficit, including tax increases and cuts in spending on entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare.

“The whole point of it is to make sure that all ideas are on the table,” the president said in the interview with Bloomberg BusinessWeek, which will appear on newsstands Friday. “So what I want to do is to be completely agnostic, in terms of solutions.”

Obama repeatedly vowed during the 2008 presidential election campaign that he would not raise taxes on individuals making less than $200,000 and households earning less than $250,000 a year.One might argue he is indeed adjusting the direction of his policies but to go back on an oft-repeated campaign promise? About taxes? Does anyone remember “Read my lips? No. New. Taxes.” and how going back on that worked out for President George H. W. Bush? What can he and his advisors be thinking?

And why would you need to raise taxes instead of cutting spending? What program could you be considering that would require new funding? The answer to that is just two posts down from this one by Kim so I won’t quote it here. But to consider passing Obamacare with legislative trickery at this point? After Virginia? After New Jersey? After Massachusetts and Scott Brown? Today Rasmussen released a poll that shows support for the current bill at the lowest ever and that 61% of the population thinks it should be scrapped and started from scratch.

I guess the hope is that the American public will come to see with wisdom of Obama’s vision once it is forced upon them. But to push expensive health care reform and pay for it by breaking campaign promises and raising taxes while at the same time saying that unemployment is going to get worse and to expect people to be happy and supportive? That’s an awful lot to hope for…

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