HENNINGER: In its own terms, the recovery is extremely disturbing for the reasons that Mary said. It should have grown at five or six percent. The fact that the United States and the American economy, $15 trillion economy is only growing at two percent at best, really says pretty awful things for our prospects.
Now, we are in a state of high anxiety over this economy. And as a political matter, I think it's up -- the question is which of those two candidates is going to be able to explain to the American people, at every level of income, poor people, middle class people, businessmen who are sitting on the money, why is this happening to us? And Barack Obama really doesn't have a narrative for that for --
ASMAN: Let me just jump in. Because his narrative has been, this was a financial recession, unlike other recessions, and they are much worse, and that's why we're stuck at --
HENNINGER: This is about the here and now. And the question is, who can explain what's going on right now?
FREEMAN: Well, the economy was growing faster earlier in his term. The recession ended years ago, so, at a certain point, people are -- you would think, are going to start demanding results. And think if we have a non-ideological president right now, the natural reaction, another terrible reaction to another jobs report, would be to talk to Congress and say, OK, we've got a problem here, all of these tax increases scheduled for the end of the year, how do we avoid this further blow to the economy? We're not seeing that.
ASMAN: The one response we usually see, we get another bad jobs report is maybe we should have another stimulus? Do you think we'll hear that again?
O'GRADY: Well --
ASMAN: Do you think we'll hear that call again?
O'GRADY: The president still believes that one of the fundamental problems here is that jobs in the government sector are shrinking, you know, there are fewer government employees, and he thinks that's the problem. I thought it was very interesting this week. Austan Goolsbee wrote a piece in our paper where he said --
ASMAN: Austan Goolsbee was a former economic adviser to the president.
O'GRADY: Yes, and still a great proponent of the president's policies. And he said that the market did not collapse on the news of ObamaCare being upheld. And that's proves that the business community is not concerned about ObamaCare. And I think that's silly. People are paralyzed. There's a capital strike. And the fact that John Roberts ruled that it's a tax instead of a penalty did not make anybody, who had money to put to work, feel any better.
ASMAN: Dan, there's something that doesn't show up on the figures and that's the feeling of the American public. The American public feels that things are not going well, and tend it take it out on the politicians in charge. Is that going to happen in this election?
HENNINGER: I think it could if Mr. Romney makes the case that the people should be held to account.
To your point, whether it should be another stimulus, there is an old expression we used to have about trying to stimulate the economy this way after a period of low growth, which is pushing on a string, and everybody understands what that means. The economy is in a state of strength. It needs something more than moan thrown at it. It needs to be incentivized. And that's your point, David. That people need some reason to invest capital and go back to work, and it's just not there right now.
ASMAN: There are trillions and trillions of dollars. That's why any kind of stimulus -- there are two kinds of stimulus, fiscal stimulus, from the politicians lowering tax rates, et cetera or spending more government money, and then there's the monetary increase where the Federal Reserve prints more money. Is there any chance that that monetary stimulus will be enacted? It may not work but will it be enacted?
FREEMAN: Yes. I think, as you say, the fiscal stimulus, the odds that Mr. Obama and Congress work something out between now and the election are very close to zero, so, yes, I think this is a time where you would expect Ben Bernanke to say, well, they're not fixing the problem on the political side, maybe I've got to do more.
ASMAN: Even though there are already trillions of dollars in our banking system not being used.
FREEMAN: But, who would be shocked to see them say, we're going to try more treasuries and mortgage-backed securities?
O'GRADY: You've left the door open for them.
ASMAN: Last word.
We have to take one more break. When we come back, our "Hits and Misses" of the week.
ASMAN: It's time now for my favorite part of the show, our "Hits and Misses" of the week.
Mary, first to you.
O'GRADY: This is a hit for Marine Captain Katie Patronio, who wrote a politically incorrect essay about women in combat for the Marine Corps Gazette. It was titled, "Get Over It. We're not all created equal." The captain wrote, and I quote, "I can say from firsthand experience in Iraq and Afghanistan, and not just emotions, that we haven't even begun to analyze and comprehend the gender-specific medical issues and overall physical toll continuous combat operations will have on females."
O'GRADY: I'd call that a very brave Marine.
ASMAN: Indeed. Of course, there's no other kind of Marine.
James, what do you have?
FREEMAN: A hit to my president, Barack Obama, for his campaign trip. The bus tour through the Midwest this week and he paid for it with actual funds raised by his campaign.
ASMAN: Why is that notable?
FREEMAN: Recently, he tends to like to go to swing states and a rally and call it official business and the taxpayers pay for them. This is great progress. This is actually paid for by his campaign.
ASMAN: So finally because of the prodding of the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal, he's paying up for these.