The Obama Lag: Why His Numbers Could Tick Down Even as the Economy Ticks Up

With JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo and Goldman Sachs reporting profits this past week, and Citigroup showing far less red ink than expected, some long-awaited optimism has been injected into discussions about the state of the economy.
In a speech at Georgetown University, Barack Obama cautiously noted that “we are starting to generate signs of economic progress.” That followed Ben Bernanke’s declaration that “we have seen tentative signs that the sharp decline in economic activity may be slowing. A leveling out of economic activity is the first step toward economic recovery.”
On Sunday’s Meet the Press, Larry Summers, Obama’s chief economic adviser,