Please. Let’s not make fun of this idea. There is a sense in which it is true. There is a sense in which President Obama does want us to take the long view. Specifically, he wants us to look back to the Bush Administration, not just focus on today. Or to look to a future when his failed policies will miraculously produce better results. In the meantime, it is all short-term policies of printing and spending that we get, policies that just buy time to the next election while digging us into an ever deeper hole.
If we are going to look back to the Bush Administration, let’s not stop there. The current economic crisis began earlier, during the Clinton Administration, although the Clinton Administration was only partly responsible. Congress was also responsible and the chief villain of the piece was played by Alan Greenspan’s Federal Reserve, acting in concert with the Chinese and other central banks.
Henry Hazlitt observed in his book Economics in One Lesson that real economics focuses on what is hidden, not just on what is immediately visible, and on the long term, not just on the short term. It may be too much to expect that Presidents will be real economists. Their primary interest is in getting elected or re-elected. But it would be nice for the economics profession to reform itself and start giving us some real economics.