Barack Obama gives a good speech, and his family is as cool as a first family can be. But cherry-picked statistics won’t pull people out of poverty, and rhetoric about the gifts of capitalism won’t stifle the debate about how much better we might have done. The benefits of capitalism fall too unevenly. Globalization and free trade increase GDP, which is great for Wall Street. But here on Main Street, jobs are leaving and standards of living are stuck in a 30 year rut. Incomes rose last year, but they rose from a depressed base as the nation continues to recover from the housing crisis and the Great Recession. And the men who crashed the economy? They’re reaping most of the rewards of this growth.
If I had been president the last eight years, I wouldn’t be taking a victory lap on behalf of the American people. My hope is that Mr Obama is privately horrified about how little he had been able to accomplish against the dysfunction of Congress.