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Hyperbole

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Here is Steven Pearlstein in the Washington Post [2], commenting on Obama's State of the Union address:

Not since Franklin Roosevelt delivered his first fireside chat, eight days into his presidency, have Americans been more hungry — and more desperate — for economic leadership. 

Can't agree with that. In January of 1982, Reagan gave his first State of the Union address [3]. Unemployment was over 10%. It is currently at 7.6%. Inflation in the previous year had exceeded 10%. Today it is roughly zero.

Pearlstein continues:

And not since FDR has there been an economic agenda as bold or ambitious, or as likely to reshape American capitalism.

Just a month in office, Obama has already pushed through additional fiscal stimulus equal to 5 percent of the country's economic output. His Treasury Department is about to embark on the second phase of a program that will lead to greater government control and ownership of some of the nation's biggest banks. He has assembled a team to pull off what amounts to a bankruptcy reorganization for automakers that will leave taxpayers as one of the industry's biggest creditors. And within months, the president has promised to deliver the blueprint of a new regulatory architecture that will dramatically increase the government's oversight of financial firms.

Yes, Obama is spending a lot of money. But the spending itself isn't reshaping capitalism. The rest of the stuff is reshaping capitalism, at least for now. The attempts to salvage the auto industry and de facto nationalization of the banks are leftovers from the Bush Administration and I wish Obama had but them in the garbage rather than adding them to the menu. As for government's oversight of financial firms, no details are available yet.

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