The Wall Street Journal, the flagship of conservative thought, has proven again and again to be wrong about Obama and the economy, but of course will not acknowledge it.
“The Obama program is going to test the liberal faith, not observed since the 1970s, that deficit spending and easy monetary policy are engines of prosperity,” the Wall Street Journal editorialized in April 2009, headlined “The Liberal Hour.” “If they are wrong, then Mr. Obama will eventually find himself managing the politics of stagflation…For now, we are living in another era of unchecked liberal government. The reckoning will come when Americans discover how much it costs.” The WSJ editorial claimed Obama and the liberals would spend so freely that a deficit of 4 percent of GDP would become a permanent fixture of the US economy.
No, we have not faced stagflation, and the deficit shrank to 2.5 percent of GDP in 2015.
WSJ continued: “The Obama White House and Treasury are nationalizing GM and Chrysler, expanding government’s role in the mortgage markets, and widening their ownership of the U.S. banking system. The deeper they dig in, the harder they will find it politically to exit.”
Yes, Obama (along with George W. Bush in the final days of his administration) did bail out GM and Chrysler and saved more than a million jobs. No, the government did not find it hard to exit the bailouts. Indeed, the government loans were paid back with interest.
The WSJ claimed in 2009 that Obama “has abdicated the writing of most legislation to liberal committee chairmen, at the cost of bipartisanship. This means that when he really needs Republicans — on trade and national security — they might not be there.” But in fact, Republicans in Congress, at least those connected to Wall Street, have supported the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Ironically, conservatives who cheered Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush for taking executive action independent of Congress now complain about the imperial presidency of Barack Obama. Yes, it’s true that some liberals complained about the executive actions of Reagan and Bush, but now cheer the executive actions of Obama.
Looking back on that Wall Street Journal editorial from 2009, we can see that WSJ and too many others are playing hyper-partisan games lacking in principles, lacking a consistent philosophy about presidential power or honest reckoning of their own wrong-headed predictions.