Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Beginnings and Ends

President Obama has said that the enactment of his economic stimulus plan, while not "the end of our economic problems ... does mark the beginning of the end.” Quite a bold statement.

Politicians tend to quote Winston Churchill from time to time. If Obama had been in a more cautious mood, he could have taken his cue from one of Sir Winston's World War II speeches.

In 1942, British forces defeated the German General Erwin Rommel at El Alamein in Egypt. In retrospect, the tide had begun to turn against Germany, but that not as evident at the time.

In describing that victory, Churchill said:

Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. but it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.

I hope that the Obama plan leads to victory over recession, as El Alamein led to victory in the war. But, as I see it, even if the stimulus program turns out to be the right prescription, the enactment of the legislation can be described as, at best, the end of the beginning.

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