It’s the economy, stupid!

Monologue from today’s Roderic Deane Show…..

James Carville’s favorite phrase during Bill Clinton’s run for the White House in 1992 was “it’s the economy, stupid!” That kept the campaign focused on the economic situation at the time, which was no where near as bad as it is now. Those words are going to come back and haunt him next year, as we see a current economic environment that makes the situation in 1992 pale in comparison.

There has been so much bad economic news in the last few weeks, but one of the main indicators is the return of the phrase “misery index”. Back during the Carter years, the “misery index” was calculated by adding the current unemployment rate to the inflation rate. The current “misery index”, as measured at the end of May, was 12.7. Although that’s still a ways off from the Carter-era peak of 21.98, the trend is not good. We’ll talk more about that later in the show.

Another key indicator of a pending increase in the “misery index” is President Obama’s complete ignorance of what drives our economy. He said something this week that is absolutely amazing, blaming technology advancements for unemployment.

Here is what he said during an interview on NBC’s The Today show, and, as an aside, notice what he says to the camera following him as he is introduced, which, quite frankly, I’m surprised that NBC included in the clip:

[Audio clip of Obama blaming ATM's for high unemployment - NBC's The Today Show, June 14, 2011]

This is an astoundingly stupid thing to say. Why stop at ATMs? Why not blame the invention of the PC for current unemployment? Or, for that matter, the Internet? None of those things were around when I started my career in business and they have all been an amazing advancement in both our culture and business. There is not a businessman alive who would like to go back to the time before their existence and yet Obama does, or at least he blames technological advancements for his current economic policy failings.

This almost reminds me of Jimmy Carter’s famous “fireside chat” in 1977. I know that term is generally used to describe FDR’s radio broadcasts during WWII, but Jimmy Carter improved on the concept. He wore a cardigan sweater during a TV broadcast from the Oval Office to the American public while talking about energy. He sat in front of a roaring fire and lectured the American people about conserving energy, as if his policies had nothing to do with the energy shortages of the late 70’s.

I would be willing to bet you that Barack Obama never once took an economics class while he was in college. We’ll never know for sure, because he won’t release his college records while attending either Columbia University as an undergrad, or Harvard Law School as a graduate. It certainly does appear that he never bothered to study economics.

Ronald Reagan graduated from Eureka College in Illinois with majors in economics and sociology. It certainly showed during his Presidency, didn’t it?

This is why I think you’re going to hear the following refrain throughout the 2012 election cycle: “it’s the economy, stupid!” Because it is.

…and that’s my two-cents worth for the week.