PERRspectives: What a difference a week makes, especially when it comes to the rollercoaster American economy. No where is the impact of looming rec
March 20, 2008


What a difference a week makes, especially when it comes to the rollercoaster American economy. No where is the impact of looming recession and the near-meltdown on Wall Street clearer than on the White House web site. Just days ago, the site boasted about President Bush's glorious stewardship of the U.S. economy. Now, the White House's economy web page reflects the mad scramble to ward off the twin crises of the housing market and the financial system.

A cached version of the White House web site from March 16, 2008 showed the last vestiges of rosy optimism and unbridled Bush boosterism. (The Google cache has since been updated.) In the upper left hand corner, an elegant animation proclaimed "President Bush's actions are moving our economy forward," "18,000 jobs created in December 2007," "Over 8.3 million new jobs created since August 2003" and "Unemployment rate remains low at 5%."

The usual fuzzy math was there as well, cynically designed as always to sell making President Bush's tax cuts for the wealthy permanent:

"The 2001 and 2003 tax cuts are set to expire in less than three years. If Congress allows that to happen, 116 million taxpayers will see their taxes go up by $1,800 on average."

Some signs of the downturn were already present as well. Bush's disastrous appearance last week before the Economic Club of New York was front and center. And a run down of the steps being taken to confront the imploding housing market were highlighted as well.

But four days later, the main White House economy web page has gotten an emergency face-lift. The eye-catching animation crowing about Bush leading the economy forward is gone. After the U.S. shed 63,000 jobs in February and new jobless claims this week jumped by 22,000, the text about past job creation became history. And even the verbiage about making the tax cuts permanent has been deleted. And just days after the Federal Reserve intervened with its massive Bear Stearns bailout to halt the building Wall Street panic, the White House web site proclaims:

"The President remains deeply concerned about the housing issue and strongly believes that any government policies must be responsible. Government actions often have far-reaching and unintended consequences. Any time the government intervenes in the market, it must do so with clear purpose and great care."

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