Barack Obama’s per­pet­ual pres­i­dency

Orlando Sentinel - - OPINION -

for two years dur­ing the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion, ridiculed Trump’s boasts that he could achieve an­nu­al­ized GDP growth of 3 per­cent as the stuff of “tooth fairies and ludicrous sup­ply-side eco­nomics.”

Sum­mers had also pre­dicted that the U.S. econ­omy would be in re­ces­sion by now. In­stead, it is likely to match or ex­ceed Trump’s prom­ise of 3 per­cent growth over a 12-month pe­riod.

Af­ter Trump’s vic­tory, economist and Obama sup­porter Paul Krug­man pre­dicted that the stock mar­ket would crash and might “never” re­cover. “We are very prob­a­bly look­ing at a global re­ces­sion, with no end in sight,” Krug­man wrote in Novem­ber 2016.

In fact, the Dow Jones In­dus­trial Av­er­age has climbed about 7,000 points since Trump was elected. Un­em­ploy­ment has hit near-record lows, wage gains are up, and the econ­omy is grow­ing.

Still, af­ter 22 months, no one knows what the fi­nal ver­dict will be on the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion. So it seems wise to wait un­til Trump’s four-year term is over be­fore weigh­ing in on his legacy or lack of one.

By the same to­ken, the fre­netic Obama should take a deep breath, stop ar­gu­ing the past, and al­low his­tory to ad­ju­di­cate his own eight-year eco­nomic and for­eign­pol­icy record.

Given that Obama was a strong pro­gres­sive while Trump sur­pris­ingly has proven to be a hard-right con­ser­va­tive, their pres­i­den­cies of­fer a sort of lab­o­ra­tory of con­trast­ing world­views.

His­tory will de­cide whether a more man­aged or more deregulated econ­omy works best. We will learn whether a fo­cus on tra­di­tional en­ergy sources is prefer­able to an em­pha­sis on sub­si­dized green en­ergy.

In re­cent times, Repub­li­can ex-pres­i­dents — Ronald Rea­gan, Ge­orge H.W. Bush and Ge­orge W. Bush — left the lime­light upon the end of their tenures. They kept silent about their suc­ces­sors, and they al­lowed his­tory to be the judge of their rel­a­tive suc­cesses or fail­ures. Rea­gan and the younger Bush of­ten were en­sconced on their ranches in out-of-the­way places. Obama would do well to buy a ranch too.

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