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Nick Cave has Something to Say about Truth and Responsibility

Nick Cave has Something to Say about Truth and Responsibility

Nick Cave sends out a Red Hand File every week. This week’s file was about how we should listen to others and how we should speak while we try to adjust to this devastating coronavirus pandemic.

Now is the time to be cautious with our words, our opinions.

Now is a time to listen to those in more informed positions and to follow instructions, as difficult as that may be, as we step into the unprecedented unknowable. We should be careful about the noises we make — especially those with a public voice — and should not pretend to know what we do not. From within the clamour and tonnage of information and misinformation, of opinions and counter-opinions, of blame-games and grim prophecy and the most panic-inducing version of ‘Imagine’ ever recorded, emerges a simple message — wash your hands and (if you can) stay at home.

That sounds like good advice to most intelligent, caring people. But not to one ignorant and destructive man with a pugnacious public voice, him being President Donald Trump. He ignores more informed opinions, and he does pretend to know what he does not. He is now ignoring the advice of experts on his administration’s coronavirus team and he is amplifying lies and misinformation from dubious sources to rationalize his imperious plan to prioritize business-as-usual over the health and safety of people trying to survive the coronavirus pandemic.

From The Guardian:

[Trump] repeatedly refused to confirm that he would listen to public health authorities if they advised him to keep restrictive public health measures in place, even at a cost to the economy.

“We’ll see what happens,” he said.

“Our country was not built to be shut down,” Trump said. “This is not a country that was built for this.”

Trump said he expected life to return to normal very soon, much sooner than in three or four months. Asked if he meant the country would be re-opening in “weeks or months”, Trump said: “I’m not looking at months, I can tell you right now.”

Asked if Dr Anthony Fauci, the immunologist who has become the public face of the American scientific community during the pandemic, agreed with him on potentially re-opening the economy, Trump said: “He doesn’t not agree.”

He wants to see all of us back at our jobs by Easter, which is April 12th. That’s eighteen days from today. Based on what I’ve been reading about how fast the coronavirus is spreading in NYC and other places like right here in the Seattle area, that’s not going to happen if we all follow the advice of experts. Well at least the “experts” not named Donald Trump.

Americans now favor George W. Bush over Barack Obama

Americans now favor George W. Bush over Barack Obama

According to the latest CNN/ORC poll, Americans now have a more favorable opinion of George W. Bush than they do of President Barack Obama.

CNN reports:

According to the poll, 52% of adults had a favorable impression of George W. Bush, 43% unfavorable. When Bush left office in 2009, only about a third of Americans said they had a positive opinion of him. In a February 2009 poll conducted about a month after he left office, Republicans were the only group among which a majority said they had a favorable view of Bush. Even among self-described conservatives, only 50% had a favorable take on the former president and champion of “compassionate conservatism.”

Bush’s overall favorability has remained well below 50% for much of his time as a presidential alum. This new poll presents a notable shift.

As of a year ago, 46% had a favorable take on the former president, 51% an unfavorable one. Since then, Bush has gained in esteem among men (up 11 points), Republicans (up 10 points), those with household incomes under $50,000 (up 10 points), younger adults (up 9 points among those under age 50) and suburbanites (up 8 points).

Liberals, non-whites, and young people are still repulsed by him. That means the conservatives and old white people who had soured on him are starting to like him again.

The polls shows people are split 49% favorable to 49% unfavorable on Obama.

How does the president who was in charge when the stock market crashed and unemployment soared; who, along with his team of despicable lying war mongers, purposefully misled us into the Iraq War that has cost our country trillions of dollars have a more favorable rating than the president who has led us out of an economic catastrophe and is trying to extract us from never-ending, unwinnable wars in the Middle East?

Now I don’t know who’s dumber: George W. Bush or the unmindful people who favor him.

The economic boom in Texas is no vindication of conservative governance.

The economic boom in Texas is no vindication of conservative governance.

In a recent blog piece in The New York Times, Nobel-prize winning economist and liberal columnist Paul Krugman recounted an effort by Stephen Moore, a conservative economist with the Heritage Foundation, to demonstrate that tax slashing (Red) states have outperformed high tax (Blue) states in job and overall economic growth. It transpired that Moore had evidently been piqued by a column Krugman had written earlier about Kansas GOP Governor Sam Brownback’s disastrous tax-cutting binge which has left the state with a huge deficit while doing next to nothing to grow the economy.

The problem was that the most specific claims in Moore’s article, which appeared in the Kansas City Star, were inaccurate and completely misleading. The Bureau of Labor Statistics data he cited which he said were for the last five years were actually from an earlier period starting just before the last Great Recession. These skewed the numbers to the point of uselessness. Moore claimed he made a “mistake”.  I believe him, but thousands wouldn’t.

Of course we shouldn’t be surprised because ideological blinkering long ago supplanted truth and facts in the alternate universe occupied by most conservatives – even ones with PhDs. And as Krugman says in his piece, comparing states is, in any case, an inexact science given stark differences in key areas such as the price of housing.

But for me it raised a more fundamental question. After all Texas has been extolled as an example of successful conservative governance not only by Moore in his dodgy article, but in a June issue of The Economist a far more credible source. But is it enough to measure success, particularly as it relates to whether a state is well governed, by the number of jobs produced in a given period (one driven, at least in part, by the oil and gas industries) or its economic growth rate? Certainly by these measurements Texas is flourishing; but when viewed against what many consider are other key metrics, such as the economic well-being of its lower-income residents, not so much.

Poverty-USA ranks Texas 40th among states. And in its report on child well-being, the Annie E Casey Foundation  ranks Texas 43rd overall, this in a country which as a whole ranks near the bottom among rich countries. Out of 16 measurements of economic, educational, health, and family/community well-being examined by AECF, Texas only managed to beat the national average in 4 of them. Its efforts in the areas of health and family/community support were particularly dismal.

Finally, this table from the Kaiser Family Foundation shows that the income threshold for adults with children to be eligible for Medicaid is an eye-popping $3,736 for a family of three, placing it only behind Alabama as the stingiest of states. Even Mississippi is more generous (albeit not by much).

And the disparities between states like Texas and their Blue State peers are only likely to grow. This is especially so when it comes to health as the rate of uninsured likely continues to drop significantly in states that fully embraced the Affordable Care Act, while staying the same or decreasing only marginally in Texas and other states that have fought it tooth and nail.

I don’t expect any sense from an ideologue such as Stephen Moore but The Economist should be ashamed of itself for mistaking Texas for a well governed state.

It’s nice to be able to brag about economic growth but what good is it if an ideologically blinkered and uncaring government does little to use the generated wealth to improve the lot of its neediest residents?

Democratic Presidents have the Advantage over Republicans when it comes to Economic Growth

Democratic Presidents have the Advantage over Republicans when it comes to Economic Growth

You can read about it here or here, but the graphs (via Vox.com) tell you all you really need to know .

Start with this one on GDP since the second Truman Administration.

Democratic GDP Dominance

Democratic Presidents following Republican Presidents presided over stronger growth in every instance except Reagan’s second term compared to Carter’s term. But if you average Reagan’s two terms and compare it to Carter’s one, it’s close to a tie. Obama’s first term was far superior to Bush’s second and, by all current indicators, his second term will be much better than Bush’s first term in spite of Republican obstructionism.

What’s really interesting is this graph (via The Atlantic).

Democratic Economic Indicator Dominance

Democrats have led in every category for the past 70 years. Coincidence? I don’t think so. And just think how much better our economy would be doing now if Republicans hadn’t been kneecapping Obama and the Democrats every step of the way for the past six years.

Based on what the Republican’s and their phony policy wonk Paul Ryan have been peddling as their economic solution for the past six years, if a Republican were somehow to be elected in 2016, the economy would surely suffer if they were able to implement their plans to cut taxes for the rich and corporations and to drastically cut entitlement programs and repeal Obamacare.

So come this November and then again in November 2016, do the right thing: Vote for Democrats. It’s good for the economy and it’s good for you.

The 2014 midterm elections need not be a disaster for Democrats

The 2014 midterm elections need not be a disaster for Democrats

Conventional wisdom has it that the Democrats are in for a drubbing in the 2014 midterm elections. After all, polls show that Obama’s approval rating is at or near its lowest point in his presidency. The generic question of which party you will support in the next election now favors Republicans. And Obamacare may yet yield further frustrations in the New Year, particularly if computer glitches with the “backend” processing of enrollees on Healthcare.gov lead many to believe they have coverage when they do not.

Nevertheless, Democrats have a prospective domestic policy agenda that could help to confound CW – if they can summon the wisdom, courage and energy to push it forcefully.

For the 2014 campaign, Democrats can present their overall vision as one that maintains and even strengthens the social safety net for all Americans, increases the hourly wage of our lowest-income workers, and seeks to boost an already improving economy while simultaneously improving America’s international competitiveness. Key features:

A strong push to increase the minimum wage. Polling shows a strong majority of Americans support an increase in the minimum wage. The president has proposed a national raise to $10.00 an hour. Some cities are considering an increase to $15.00 an hour, as one municipality in Washington State (SeaTac) has already done. Fast food workers have staged nation-wide demonstrations in support of higher pay for workers on minimum wage. With so many low-wage workers struggling to make ends meet without resorting to government assistance, it’s an issue whose time has definitely come.

Extending long term unemployment benefits. Republicans may face a backlash to their unwillingness to include such an extension in the budget deal concluded recently by Democratic Senator Patti Murray and GOP Congressman Paul Ryan. GOP reasoning that losing their benefits will provide a necessary kick in the butt for these unfortunates to find jobs is contradicted by most of the available evidence. Lack of effort is not the problem; studies show that employers are less inclined to hire the long term unemployed. The public’s sympathies, not to mention the genuine pain that will be inflicted on up to 4 million unemployed Americans over the next several months if this federal program is not extended, make this a compelling issue for Democrats.

Switching to offense on the Affordable Care Act. Whatever its initial travails, the ACA is starting to settle down and show its promise. About 2 million Americans have enrolled in private insurance plans through Healthcare.gov or state websites thus far, and more have signed on directly with insurance companies. An additional 4 million have enrolled in Medicaid in the last few months mostly under the ACA’s expansion but also including some who qualified previously but never enrolled. There is reason to believe that many more will enroll before the enrollment period expires on March 31st. Republicans, meanwhile, not only lack a health care reform plan of their own but are doing everything they can to impede the only one on the table. Most egregiously, 25 GOP dominated states have deprived 5 million of their own low-income workers of an opportunity to be covered under an expanded Medicaid. This can only work to the detriment of the GOP. Whether it comes quickly enough to help Democrats is an open question; but the latter at least have something substantive to argue for, whereas Republicans are left to do what they do best – nothing. Unless carping, bemoaning and obstructing is viewed as doing something.

Beyond these three issues, it’s past time for Democrats to produce a progressive tax reform bill that addresses the disproportionately favorable treatment received by the rich that has characterized tax legislation since Ronald Reagan. While raising rates for wealthy individuals, particularly on unearned income, such a bill could lower corporate tax rates significantly while ensuring that profitable corporations actually pay taxes. If President Obama is serious about making income and wealth disparity the defining issue of his second term, this is a good place to start.

Finally, Obama and Democrats need to push much harder for a significant investment in our crumbling infrastructure and to restore cuts to science and technology research spending. Not all debt is created equal; the benefits of investments in infrastructure, science and technology and education will more than justify borrowing the money to pay for them, a lesson Republicans never fail to grasp.

The contrast between an agenda such as this and a GOP one that consists primarily of destroying health care reform, not raising taxes on even the mega rich and slashing programs for the poor and middle class in their phony crusade for fiscal rectitude, is one that Democrats should not be shy of drawing in 2014.

Republicans Freak Out about the 7.8% Unemployment Report

Republicans Freak Out about the 7.8% Unemployment Report

On Friday the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the economy added 114,000 jobs in September and unemployment declined to 7.8 percent.

Those are not great numbers, but they’re not bad either.

Apparently the report was too good for Republicans and their rightwing media pals who responded by going off the rails and accusing the BLS of fixing the numbers to make President Obama look better the month before the election.

“Unbelievable jobs numbers..these Chicago guys will do anything..can’t debate so change numbers.” Former GE CEO Jack Welch.

“I agree with former GE CEO Jack Welch, Chicago style politics is at work here.” and “Orwellian to say the least and representative of Saul Alinsky tactics from the book ‘Rules for Radicals.” – Rep Allen West (Rep Fl)

“There is widespread mistrust of this report and these numbers.” and “How convenient the rate drops below 8% [for the] first time in 43 months, five weeks before the election.” Stuart Varney, FOX News

“I don’t think BLS cooked numbers. I think a bunch of Dems lied about getting jobs. That would have same effect.” Conn Carroll, Washington Examiner

“I told you they’d get it under 8 percent — they did! You can let America decide how they got there!” – Rick Santelli, CNBC News

“Jobs #s from Labor Secretary Hilda Solis are total pro-Obama propaganda–labor force participation rate at 30-yr low. Abysmal!” – Laura Ingraham

And this the poll was on her website today:

Like I’ve said before, when facts don’t fit the Republican narrative, Republicans make stuff up. Their narrative is that Obama’s stimulus was wrong, his auto bailout was wrong, his investments in alternative energy sources are wrong, and the government spends too much money. Well in spite of what they say, Obama’s plans were effective and created around 3 million jobs. And had he been able to get his American Jobs Act through congress, Friday’s unemployment rate would be much lower.

Republicans care less about taking steps to improve the economy than they do about making Obama a one-term president, so anything that would help the economy is bad for them. John Boehner in the Republican controlled House and Mitch McConnell in the very undemocratic, minority controlled Senate made sure that Obama’s job creation bill got nowhere.

However, in spite of their obstructionism, the economy has slowly improved but, since they tried everything they could do to make sure it did not improve, they have to make up stories about the BLS in order to reconcile the 7.8% figure with their false reality.

As the above graph from Paul Krugman’s blog shows, Obama inherited an economy from George W. Bush an that was in freefall left to him by, and after Obama’s policies kicked in, the economy started to improve. Krugman created another graph in a post that shows the 7.8% figure follows the trend, so Friday’s BLS report shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who pays attention to real data.

Is the BLS a partisan entity controlled by Obama? No.

Betsey Stevenson, a former chief economist at the Department of Labor under President Obama, said in a phone interview with TPM that the conspiracy theories were misguided in just about every way possible. For starters, the Bureau of Labor Statistics isn’t currently run by a political appointee. For most of Obama’s term, the commissioner was a holdover appointed by President Bush. The current acting commissioner John Gavin is a career BLS economist, not an Obama appointee.

 

The underlying data behind the BLS reports is also publicly released and used by analysts across the private sector and academia, meaning a conspiracy would have to survive scrutiny from trained economists of all political stripes.

Nor is there much time to cook the books at the top level if they wanted to.

None of that matters in the fantasy world of the modern Republican Party.

The Fiscally Irresponsible Republicans vs. Obama

The Fiscally Irresponsible Republicans vs. Obama

It’s not just Mitt Romney that has a tax plan that will bankrupt our country. All four of them have plans that will significantly increase our national debt. Here’s a chart from Krugman’s blog that tells the tale:

 

The graph shows your new Republican Party is not much different from the Republican Party of a decade ago. Who was it that said, “Deficits don’t matter”? Oh yeah, that was Dick Cheney, and the four candidates running against President Obama all believe it too.

The chart shows Ron Paul’s plan is close to Obama’s, but only because it relies on spending cuts that would be nearly impossible to get through congress (read Krugman for details). Romney’s plan is more expensive, but Santorum and Gingrich are offering what appear to be national bankruptcy plans.

So why are Republican candidates who are constantly attacking Obama for our huge debt (that he inherited from the last Republican president) offering plans that will make it worse? The answer is simple. Regardless of what Republicans tell you (according to a recent Gallup Poll, the more wealthy the Republicans, the more likely they are to say they are concerned about the debt than they are about unemployment) they don’t give a damn about the debt – they haven’t since the mid-eighties. They are most concerned about keeping their taxes low so that the government can’t give their money away to who they perceive as the undeserving masses. You know; the people who lost their jobs, and the people who lost their health insurance when they lost their jobs, people on Medicare, and people on food stamps.

So now you have four Republican candidates promising to slash taxes to impossibly low rates and cut government spending to impossibly low levels to sell their tax-and-cut plans that make the rich richer and screw everyone else.

Same as it ever was.

Join the People Who Join Paul Krugman’s Army

Join the People Who Join Paul Krugman’s Army

Paul Krugman's Army poster

Thoughts from Rich Yeselson posted on Ezra Klein’s Wonkblog today:

The Wall Street protests seem to be gathering strength and expanding beyond the geographic limits of downtown Manhattan. The media, too, is finally amplifying the story. Whether they will grow larger and sustain themselves beyond these initial street actions will depend upon four things: the work of skilled organizers; the success of those organizers in getting people, once these events end, to meet over and over and over again; whether or not the movement can promote public policy solutions that are organically linked to the quotidian lives of its supporters; and the ability of liberalism’s infrastructure of intellectuals, writers, artists and professionals to expend an enormous amount of their cultural capital in support of the movement.

Finally, the emergence of the Wall Street movement is a reminder that the liberal left has not in quite a few years actually driven anything like a mass social movement in this country. When Obama was elected, some people made the mistake of thinking that an election-bounded jolt of energy that conflated a charismatic candidate with a popular political vision was such a movement. Nobody thinks that anymore.

The left does have something important however: a coterie of several thousand intellectuals, academics, writers, and engaged professionals who articulate liberal public policy, generate empirical and analytical expertise through the Internet, the media, and universities, and staff the offices of advocacy groups and progressive politicians on the local and national level.

This is, as I said, important, but, up to now, some people have imagined that the byplay between smart bloggers and tweeters, or even the charged pen of brilliantly argumentative and intellectually courageous Nobel Prize winners, in economics actually represent a vast swell of citizens demanding substantive change. But to paraphrase a guy who understood real political power: How many troops does Paul Krugman have?

But when a movement does arise, it needs an articulate exposition, and the brainy liberal left infrastructure’s time has come. Edmund Wilson put down his Proust long enough to report from the bloody coal mines of Eastern Kentucky. College professors all over the country held public “teach-ins” to educate their students and others about the history of the Vietnam War and American interventionism.

So there’s a big job out to do explaining and defending the Wall Street demonstrators to curious Americans. Krugman’s Army may be on its way.

I know where to get the t-shirt.  Where do I go to enlist?

November 2, 2010, Obama’s Midterm Election Battle

November 2, 2010, Obama’s Midterm Election Battle

Pundits and politicians are predicting that the Republicans will win big and take over the House – maybe even the Senate.  I’m not going to predict the outcome.  I am only going to say that I hope the rational voters prevail.  You know the ones:  Those who have read their history books; Those who can remember what happened at least thirty or more years ago up until now; Those who can put aside outlandish political attack ads and untruthful viral emails and cast their votes based on facts.  I know that’s asking a lot, but sometimes the electorate surprises me and votes for a progressive government instead of a regressive government.

I think that, at the very least, the people will keep the unqualified wackos like Christine O’Donnell and Sharron Angle out and, here in Washington, they will reject the slick and untrustworthy Dino Rossi (again) and vote for Patty Murray.

Some people are having a hard time trusting the electorate to vote sensibly and reject the incredibly irresponsible party that created the economic mess we’re in, like co-blogger N.J. Barnes for instance.  Here’s an email I received from him:

I’m in a bit of a funk at the moment what with the election and all. Depressing times.

I think the worst of it is the shattering of all illusions about Americans. Of course that should have happened in 2000 and certainly in 2004 but I could always rationalize it (Clinton’s extracurricular activities in 2000 and War/Terrorism,/Fear in 2004) before, but I’m buggered if I can do that now.

Whatever it was in the past (and not the distant past for that matter – before 1980 I guess) the place is filled with scared and scary, ignorant people who haven’t much of a clue about anything.  The last Superpower is in the process of downsizing.

My advice to N.J. was to go home, pour himself a tumbler of scotch, and – since I nearly put him to sleep with a Harper’s column I sent him – to mindlessly leaf through the tabloids.

Obama Interview on The Daily Show – Video and Transcript

Obama Interview on The Daily Show – Video and Transcript

President Barack Obama appeared on The Daily Show last night for an interview that took up the entire extended broadcast. 

Jon Stewart and President Obama got along well as expected, and Jon did ask Obama some difficult questions.  Most of Obama’s responses were a defense of his record during his first nineteen months in office, and I thought he did a great job making his case that “Change you can believe in” doesn’t happen overnight.  He says it takes time (no argument here) and the Democrats are making progress in spite of the Republicans’ stalling tactics.

I did find it a little strange that not once during the whole show was there any talk about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.  I guess this time around “it’s about the economy, stupid,” and who controls it.

I am pretty sure it’s safe to say that Jon Stewart is the first interviewer of a sitting president to address the president as “Dude.”

If you haven’t watched the show, you can watch the rerun today on TV, or you can watch it here on your computer.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Barack Obama Pt. 1
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorRally to Restore Sanity

And for those of you who like to read these things, well thanks to the Lincoln Madison blog, there is a complete transcript available.

Here are a few excerpts to whet your appetite:

Obama: You know, look: when I won and we started the transition, and we looked at what was happening in the economy, a whole bunch of my political folks came up and said, “You know what: enjoy this now, because two years from now, folks are gonna be frustrated.” And that is in fact what’s happened. When you’ve got 9.6% unemployment, when folks are seeing their homes under water, when the economy is growing but is still not growing as fast as it needs to to make up for the 8 million jobs that were lost — yup, folks are gonna be frustrated, and that’s gonna reflect itself in the political environment. But, having said that, I look over the last 18 months and I say, we prevented a second Great Depression, we’ve stabilized the economy — an economy that was shrinking is now growing — we’ve got 9 months of consecutive private-sector job growth, we have passed historic healthcare reform, historic financial regulatory reform, we have done things that some folks don’t even know about —

Stewart: What have you done that we don’t know about? [laughter] Are you planning a surprise party for us? “Filled with jobs and healthcare!”

Obama: When you look at what we’ve done in terms of making sure that — before we even passed healthcare, 4 million kids got health insurance that didn’t have it before, through the children’s health insurance program [cheers], expanded national service more than at any time since the beginning of the Peace Corps, made sure that credit card companies couldn’t jack up your rates without notice — over and over again, we have moved forward an agenda that is making a difference in people’s lives each and every day. Now, is it enough? No. And so I expect, and I think most Democrats out there expect, that people want to see more progress.

Stewart: — he took a rifle and he shot the “Cap and Trade” bill. And I thought, “Oh, gosh, the Republicans are so — oh, that’s a Democrat?? Oh, that’s interesting.” Have you convinced your own party that the legislative progress has been enough, and how do you feel about their reaction to it?

Obama: Look: let me say this about members of Congress —

Stewart: Are you gonna curse?

Obama: No, I’m not gonna curse. [laughter] I know a lot of folks feel frustrated about Congress, about how it operates, the bickering, the weird rules, the filibusters, all that stuff. But the fact is that there are a bunch of folks who, during the course of this year, took really tough votes, that they knew were bad politics, because they thought they were the right things to do.

Stewart: It feels like some of the reforms that have passed, like healthcare, have been done in a very political manner that has papered over a foundation that is corrupt. And I thought that —

Obama: That I think is fair — here’s what I think is fair: that, over the last two years, in an emergency situation —

Stewart: Right.

Obama:— our basic attitude was, We’ve gotta get some things done, in some cases quickly, that are — in order to do that, basically worked with the process as opposed to transformed the process — and there’s no doubt that that frustrated folks. It frustrates me. Look: I would love not to have a 60-vote requirement — which is not in the Constitution, but is in the Senate rules right now — that apply to everything we do, so I can’t get a Deputy Secretary of Treasury in the middle of a financial crisis because somebody’s holding it up and is filibustering the appointment. …

Obama: If the point, Jon, is that overnight we did not transform the healthcare system, that point is true.

Stewart: [laughs] When you put it that way, it seems so petty!

Stewart: Welcome back to the show President Barack Obama. [audience cheers and applause] You expressed some frustration with those on the Left who are still feeling dissatisfied. Do you think in any way the expectation was something that maybe even you and your campaign created? Were people being naïve, in the sense of — I remember very clearly you said, “We can’t expect different results with the same people.”

Obama: Right.

Stewart: And I remember when you hired Larry Summers [laughter] — I remember thinking, “Well, that seems like the exact same person,” and why would you — so, in some respects, I get your frustration with this idea that, “Well, geez, are you never satisfied?” but again, the expectation, I think, was Audacity, going in there and really rooting out a corrupt system. And so the sense is, has reality of what hit you in the face when you first stepped in, caused you to back down from some of the more visionary — like bringing in a guy like Larry Summers, like —

Obama: First of all, if you look at how we have handled this financial crisis —

Stewart: Right.

Obama:— if you had told me two years ago that we’re gonna be able to stabilize the system, stabilize the stock market, stabilize the economy, and by the way at the end of this thing it’ll cost less than 1% of GDP where the S&L crisis cost us 2½% of our entire economy for a much smaller crisis, I’d say, “We’ll take that,” because we saved taxpayers a whole lot of money. And, in fairness, Larry Summers did a heckuva job trying to figure out how to —

Stewart: You don’t want to use that phrase, dude. [laughs]

Obama: Pun intended.