Imagining Better Yesterdays: What an awful lot of people seem to do, however, is look at alleged mistakes early in the administration, assume that they weren’t mistakes, reach the conclusion that this proves Obama’s nefarious intent, and then assume that absent nefarious intent Obama would be accomplishing tons of awesome new stuff right now. That involves a lot of logical leaps. The original sin here was not thinking seriously enough about the question “what will we wish we’d done if 30 months from now the BEA turns out to have been underestimating the recession?” It turns out to have been a serious one, but I don’t think it supports nearly the inferential weight that a lot of people seem inclined to put on it.
It is very odd. One would think that--I thought that--there was a economic policy whiteboard in Obama's transition headquarters that started:
Ensuring a strong, rapid economic recovery even if things turn out unexpectedly badly…
What might we wish in three years that we had done today?
With those two things at the head of the whiteboard, it is very hard to make sense of Obama priorities and policies then and now in any way other than a systematic failure to mark beliefs to market.