Monday, August 22, 2011

The President Promises No New American Recession...But Read Between the Lines

In interviews this week, United States President Barack Obama repeatedly reassured the American people that the country was not at risk for a double-dip recession. In spite of the President's statement, the recent downgrade of the American credit rating by Standard & Poor, doubts about government debt solutions, and growing concerns for the wily stock market activity and the economic panic underway in both Europe and Asia, Americans are still believing that a recession is imminent

I wouldn't say what the President says to the American public is scripted, but the head of the executive branch almost never speaks off-the-cuff about current affairs. This is especially the case when it comes to future events. When the President goes on television saying the likelihood of the United States experiencing another recession in the near future is remote, it isn't because it's what his gut tells him. It's a statement based on plenty of empirical evidence, and more importantly, politically it's something that absolutely has to be correct, or else there will be hell to pay for the President.

So while not even the President can completely guarantee that another recession won't happen, try and let his words help you relax a little bit. No politician, whether good or not, ever sees it in their best interest to offer false hope when facing a certain catastrophe. If there was uncertainty within the White House about another American recession, Obama's words wouldn't be so confident. He'd say the risk was “minimal” or something like that. But he and his team have decided that one year away from his reelection campaign Obama can confidently tell the country that we're not at immediate risk for a double-dip recession.

If you didn't pay close enough attention to the President's own words, have you been paying attention to mine? Not once did I ever say Obama said the planet isn't at risk for another recession. That's where the shiftiness exposes itself. What makes his confidence so peculiar is how close the world seems to be to falling into another economic crisis. America's hand in this new turmoil was strictly partisan nonsense: our lawmakers failed to create a responsible way to deal with our debt limit and that had untold affects on global economic confidence. But the real immediate risks for a new recession are elsewhere. Before we feel the pains we'll see them being felt across the pond and beyond.

That doesn't mean we aren't at risk for an eventual recession, and chances are Obama and his people know this.

Unfortunately, I don't know what Obama and his team are really thinking. Perhaps they see the window of time between a global economic meltdown and the fallout on the United States as an opportunity to finally initiate a job plan or enact other big government solutions. But being this close to the 2012 election, I highly doubt they'd pull such politically-charged tools out of the box. Maybe they're hoping the American private sector gets spooked by uncertainty abroad so much that they start injecting more money into the domestic economy instead of continuing to plant their profits into overseas accounts. Or maybe they've just decided that our current level of partisanship in congress makes any action impossible, and that this can only be used as fuel to feed the flame of the next election.

One thing's for sure, if a new recession hits soon, it won't be ours. For a little while anyway.

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