The White Board Returns

THE WHITE BOARD RETURNS…. Three weeks ago, Austan Goolsbee, the new chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, unveiled the “White House White Board.” In a helpful little clip, Goolsbee used a sharpie and a dry-erase board to explain the debate over tax policy — and he did it quite well.

With that in mind, I was delighted to see the white board return again this morning, this time with Goolsbee talking about job creation, standing in front of a chart that (ahem) looks awfully familiar.

Goolsbee’s message and visual evidence strikes me as pretty irrefutable. Through 2007 and 2008, we saw catastrophic job losses. President Obama took office, signed the Recovery Act, and saw things start to get better. We obviously have a long way to go, but we’ve had nine consecutive months of positive private-sector job growth, which is a hell of a lot better than where we were.

Just once, I want to see a Republican on one of the Sunday morning shows get asked about this. “Sen. Smith,” the host would ask in my imagination, “you said the stimulus would fail, and continue to believe the stimulus has failed. But here’s this chart that seems relevant. Here’s where things stood when Obama was inaugurated. By your logic, Sen. Smith, we would have expected to see the trajectory fall even lower, or at least stay the same. But reality shows otherwise, with an obvious improvement under this administration. The questions, then, are (1) why do you consider success a failure; and (2) why do you want to go back to the policies that lead to these declining red columns over here on the left side of the chart?”

Of course, American journalism doesn’t allow for questions like these. But the media does allow the White House to publish brief clips like Goolsbee’s latest edition of the White House White Board.

More like this, please.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.