Really Now: 'A Compelling Case That Obamanomics Has Produced Results'

White House correspondent Peter Baker's lengthy Sunday magazine cover story, "The White House Looks For Work - Inside Obama's struggle to bring down unemployment," contained a mix of cheerleading and regrets. Baker cheered for the case that "Obamanomics has produced results," with regrets for the stubbornly high unemployment rate, as it that was a separate matter from the performance of the economy. (Of course, a White House study in January 2009 predicted the Obama stimulus would reduce the unemployment rate to 7 percent at the end of 2010, as Baker noted deeper into the story.)

There is a compelling case that Obamanomics has produced results.
An economy that was shrinking in size and bleeding more than 700,000 jobs a month is now growing at 2.6 percent and added 1.1 million jobs last year. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, known as the stimulus, produced or saved at least 1.9 million jobs and as many as 4.7 million last year, according to the Congressional Budget Office. The much-derided Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP, started by George W. Bush and continued by Obama, stabilized the financial sector, and the big banks have repaid the money with interest. According to a Treasury Department report sent to Congress this month, TARP will cost taxpayers $28 billion instead of the $700 billion originally set aside. The nearly $80 billion bailout of the auto industry may cost taxpayers only $15 billion, as the restructured General Motors and Chrysler come back to life with strong sales. The stock market has surged; corporate profits are setting records.

All of which seems offset by one simple figure: 9.4 percent. Or perhaps two, if you add $1.3 trillion. The first, of course, is the unemployment rate, which has remained stubbornly above 9 percent for 20 straight months, the longest since the Great Depression. Counting those who are seeking full-time jobs while working part time and those who have stopped looking altogether, it's closer to 17 percent. At the current rate, it could be 2017 before the country replaces the more than eight million jobs lost since December 2007....

Baker then credulously quoted Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner deeply lame response to critics: "But that just misses the fundamental reality - it could have been so much worse."