So much for the "recovery summer." The White House now expects unemployment to remain above 9% throughout the election cycle. "Unemployment will not return to the 5 percent range until 2017," according to the WH budget office.
This is not news in the substance, but rather in the willingness of the White House to belatedly admit the obvious. By their continuing coverage of economic conditions as "surprising," "unexpected" and "worse than predicted," the media still haven't grasped reality.
All of this is pre-text for Obama's "jobs speech" later this week. Obama is trying to lower expectations. There should be no doubt that the speech will contain little to no substance. If it were otherwise, the White House wouldn't have dumped its Midsession Budget Review on a Friday afternoon. The MBR is a by-the-numbers forecast of the President's economic policy effects over the next few years. That is, it isn't a rhetorical campaign speech - so it isn't useful to Obama, who has no ideas to help the economy. This is the sense of the Senate Budget Committee, which clearly and concisely summarizes the President's MBR.
Obama has lost the initiative, and his speech will produce more scorn than relief. The GOP - particularly the candidates - need to step up and seize the moment. There is a vacuum of leadership in Washington waiting to be filled.