In the weeks just before President Obama took office, his economic advisers made a mistake. They got a little carried away with hope.
To make the case for a big stimulus package, they released their economic forecast for the next few years. Without the stimulus, they saw the unemployment rate — then 7.2 percent — rising above 8 percent in 2009 and peaking at 9 percent next year. With the stimulus, the advisers said, unemployment would probably peak at 8 percent late this year.
We now know that this forecast was terribly optimistic. The jobless rate has already reached 9.4 percent.