The Newsweek cover story by former McCain adviser Niall Ferguson is hilariously bad. I mean Jonah Goldberg funny.
I won’t review the whole thing, but here are some choice passages. He begins with this:
Yet the question confronting the country nearly four years later is not who was the better candidate four years ago. It is whether the winner has delivered on his promises.
Oh, I see. So Niall is a true believer. Does any president deliver on all of his promises? Rarely. That said, according to Politifact the president has kept 190 promises while only breaking 81. A .500 average in baseball is a guaranteed spot in the Hall of Fame. And considering a Republican Congress that filibusters and blocks everything to an unprecedented and historic degree, 190 is damn good.
And if the president kept 100% of his promises, would it really matter to a former McCain staffer? No way.
Then there’s this:
In an unguarded moment earlier this year, the president commented that the private sector of the economy was “doing fine.” Certainly, the stock market is well up (by 74 percent) relative to the close on Inauguration Day 2009. But the total number of private-sector jobs is still 4.3 million below the January 2008 peak.
The economy lost 2.6 million jobs in 2008 alone with millions more before the president’s stimulus and other policies could mitigate the losses. Even though we’re still below the peak, Naill totally fails to mention the severity of the crash and the seriousness of the crisis in 2008-2009.
Welcome to Obama’s America: nearly half the population is not represented on a taxable return—almost exactly the same proportion that lives in a household where at least one member receives some type of government benefit. We are becoming the 50–50 nation—half of us paying the taxes, the other half receiving the benefits.
So Republicans are in favor of taxes suddenly? I wonder which half are the mega-corporations that pay zero taxes and yet receive huge government subsidies?
Oh and this one:
And all this despite a far bigger hike in the federal debt than we were promised. According to the 2010 budget, the debt in public hands was supposed to fall in relation to GDP from 67 percent in 2010 to less than 66 percent this year. If only. By the end of this year, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), it will reach 70 percent of GDP. These figures significantly understate the debt problem, however.
As we all know, the drivers of the debt are all Bush policies that Niall’s former boss supported and which his former boss would have continued — as will Mitt Romney. If he’s concerned about government spending, he could’ve been fair and noted that President Obama has presided over the slowest increase in the rate of government spending in decades. He also passed Paygo which forces Congress to pay for every program it comes up with. Meanwhile, Romney’s economic plan adds trillions to the debt and balloons the deficit. None of that is mentioned by Niall and Newsweek.
I’m leaving out piles of other stuff, but you get the idea. It’s confused and misleading piece intended to stir up a shitstorm.
UPDATE: Krugman wrote an excellent piece about this here.