Although Barack Obama has refrained, at least for now, from delivering triumphant speeches in a naval flight suit, there is nevertheless a strong tone of accomplishment emanating from the United States president and his deputies.
Over the weekend, top White House economic adviser, Lawrence Summers, even pronounced that the recession was now over. Without hedging his bets, Summers declared that thanks to the Obama administration’s wise stewardship, economic stimuli and emergency bailouts, another Great Depression, set up by the prior administration, had been narrowly averted. Summers saw no impediment to the return of sustainable growth. He may as well have delivered these remarks from the deck of an aircraft carrier, in the manner of president George W Bush, who delivered a speech on Iraq from the USS Abraham Lincoln in front of a banner proclaiming “mission accomplished”.
I hate to shoot down these high-flying expectations, but the economy is not improving. All that has changed is that we are now more indebted to foreign creditors, with even less to show for it.