At a news conference, the president-elect, who told an Oregon audience in May that “I’ve been in 57 states, [with] I think one left to go,” contended that an economic recovery “will take longer than any of us would like — years, not months. It will get worse before it gets better.” Biden, on the verge of becoming the first vice president in U.S. history who can’t count to four, said that “the economy is in much worse shape than we thought it was in,” and expressed fears that it is close to “absolutely tanking.”
These mostly unqualified assertions made by the math-challenged incoming pair were far stronger than those made by Bush and Cheney eight years ago. Yet we can “count” on two things: old media won’t accuse them of negatively influencing the economy and cowed Republicans will barely object. Of course, new administrations tend to lower expectations a bit in advance of taking power, but Obama and Biden’s statements were unusually sweeping.
There’s a reason for that. The economy just might be recovering. That would be really, really bad news for their ambitions.