Magazine April 16, 2012, Issue

Chronicles of a Debt Foretold

President Barack Obama discusses his budget proposal during a news conference in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, D.C., February 15, 2011. (Larry Downing/Reuters)

You are not alone. Some of President Barack Obama’s own crackerjack advisers are surely as surprised and dismayed as anyone by America’s persistently weak economic recovery. Back in the spring of 2010 — just before the White House launched its ill-timed “Recovery Summer” publicity offensive right smack into a summer swoon — I visited a top White House economist. I asked if the nascent recovery had any real momentum. After giving me a lengthy and thorough survey of the major macroeconomic indicators, the economist concluded that “all the lights on the dashboard are flashing green.” Let the Obama boom begin.

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