Obama To New York Times: Is This A Joke?

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I offer the Economics 101 lesson that I'm sure President Obama wanted to share with the New York Times when he called them from the White House: It’s like a boulder running downhill and we are pushing against it with all our might. It will take a while before the rate of descent of the boulder slows. And believe me, unlike Sisyphus, we will succeed in pushing this boulder back up to the summit and keeping it there.

[Publisher's Commentary]

A reporter for The New York Times asked President Barack Obama whether he believed the American economy would recover in a few weeks, over the summer, or by the fall.

This was actually a question posed by an adult reporter to the president during an interview conducted on Air Force One. Not by a New York Post reporter; but by a New York Times reporter. The president must have been stunned to hear a reporter from what's supposed to be a renowned newspaper pose such a moronic question.

It was an imbecilic setup question; obviously, conceding there won't be a turnaround in a few weeks was meant to harm the president in the eyes of Americans who are used to instant coffee solutions. Fortunately, a recent Wall Street Journal/NBC poll shows that Americans are willing to grant the president between one to three years to show progress on the economy.

Later, according to an article in the Times, President Obama called from the White House following the interview and got on the phone with the reporter. He wanted to know whether one of the questions posed – i.e., what would he say to critics who contend the president's policies were leading the country towards Socialism? -- had been a serious question.

Vice President Joseph Biden may have played a role in this follow up call by the president to the Times. Biden was ambushed by an air head television reporter named Barbara West during the campaign last year. She accused Obama of being a Marxists for advocating "spreading the wealth." The vice president, then a candidate, had asked West: "Are you joking? Is this a joke? Is this a serious question"?

In truth, I suspect President Obama had actually wanted to pose the same questions to The New York Times reporter when he called; I believe he pulled back his punch.

He probably had wanted to ask: "Do you realize that we're actually heading towards a Bush Depression or are you elite reporters not in touch with the rest of the world? We have been losing more than 600,000 jobs a month for the past couple of months and will probably lose a few more hundreds of thousands of jobs before things stabilize and you are asking me whether the economy will recover by this summer? What have you been drinking? Where does The New York Times hire you morons from? And you guys are entrusted with conveying the story of this crisis and the recovery plans to the American people? Heaven protect us all! Economics 101 must become compulsory."

Seriously, all major news organizations should send their leading reporters to the nearest college campuses and make arrangements for refresher courses in economics. 

The New York Times interview, dealing with wide ranging issues, including the economy, and the wars in Iraq and Iran, was published on Saturday for those of you who may find it hard to believe that a Times reporter actually posed the question about the recovery timeline. As they say, google it.

Rather than omitting the question about whether the economy would recover by the summer from the transcript of the interview, Times' editors actually proudly printed it in a brief Q and A format.

So, allow me to offer the Economics 101 that I'm sure President Obama wanted to share with the New York Times when he called them from the White House:

First we will have to slow the rate of job losses, from the 600 thousands range to the 500s, the 300s, the 200s and even down; it’s like a boulder running downhill and we are pushing against it with all our might. But the slope is 45 degrees, so even with a lot of muscles and resources at our heels in the form of stimulus packages; it will take a while before the rate of descent of the boulder slows down. It is near the midway point now. Once we gain traction and the rate of descent slows, the boulder will eventually stop. Afterwards, we will then start pushing the boulder back up.

Private money and his friends have so far fled from the Bush boulder. But soon, when they see that it is slowing down, private money and his friends will emerge from hiding. They will join me, the president and my team, in pushing the boulder back up.

And believe me, unlike Sisyphus, we will succeed in pushing this boulder back up to the summit and keeping it there.

This is America.

Next question New York Times?

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