I posted this story earlier in a state of decaffeination and got pretty much everything wrong. So here’s take two, in which I get it right (and don’t claim that I was “hacked” or “pranked”).
Fresh from Obama’s less than triumphal trip to Europe, our cousins are waking up to the fact that a sour and evidently worsening economy might just be enough to overcome Hopenchange 2.0.
Ultimately, the 2012 presidential election will be decided by the state of the economy, and new data released this week makes grim reading for the White House. In fact you cannot watch a US financial news network at the moment, from Bloomberg to CNBC to Fox Business, without a great deal of pessimism about the dire condition of the world’s biggest economy. 66 percent of Americans now worry the federal government will run out of money in the face of towering public debts.
To say this has been an extremely bad week for the Obama administration on the economic front would be a serious understatement. As The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday, home prices in the United States have sunk to their lowest levels since 2002, falling 4.2 percent in the first quarter of 2011. At the same time, employment growth is stalling, with only 38,000 Americans added to the workforce in May, the smallest increase since September. This compares with 179,000 jobs added in April. There has also been a steep slowdown in the manufacturing sector, and a downturn in the stock market on the back of weak economic news.
The lights are flashing red across the board on the US economy. The “d” word — depression — has even slipped into the economic lexicon this week. And in the face of all this, Obama not only doesn’t have any ideas to fix it, all of his ideas seem fixated on making it all worse. He may think he will get a Piven-style wave of Greek riots that will tear down the banks and vote him back into power. He’s wrong if that’s what he thinks, for the simple reason that America is not Greece.
All it will take is a weak Republican nominee to keep Obama in power, and that’s the bad news on top of the bad news: A weak nominee may be exactly what we get.