Brad DeLong reviews Ron Suskind's "The Confidence Men" and includes this anecdote about Obama and his economic team:
[Summers and Romer] were concerned by something the president had said in a morning briefing: that he thought the high unemployment was due to productivity gains in the economy. Summers and Romer were startled. "What was driving unemployment was clearly deficient aggregate demand," Romer said. "We wondered where this could have been coming from. We both tried to convince him otherwise. He wouldn't budge." Summers had been focused intently on how to spur demand, and on what might drive a meaningful recovery.... [W]ithout a rise in demand, in Summers's view, nothing else would work.... But productivity?... If Obama felt that 10 percent unemployment was the product of sound, productivity-driven decisions by American business, then short-term government measures to spur hiring were not only futile but unwise. The two economists strained their memory... had they said something he'd misconstrued?... After a month, frustration turned to resignation. "The president seems to have developed his own view," Romer said.
The President had developed his own view? The President was chanelling his inner Karl Marx, who expounded about the Reserve Army of the Unemployed displaced by the substitution of capital for labor. In fact, Obama has cited the displacement of bank tellers by ATMs repeatedly.
Is there any chance Obama did not read and love Kurt Vonnegut's 'Player Piano' back in his hipster college days?