GOP presidential primary candidate Herman Cain has often spoken of his economic bonafides, bragging that he will “jump start the economy” with a slew of drastic tax cuts on corporations and the richest Americans if he is elected in 2012 .
But during a radio appearance alongside fellow Atlanta radio hosts Neal Boortz and Clark Howard in May of 2008, Cain revealed exactly how little economic sense he has. Moderator Jeff Hullinger asked the three hosts if they thought the United States was in a recession. Howard said he thought it was, while Boortz and Cain disagreed.
Cain went on to explain that “liberal leaders have demagogued” the idea that the United States in a recession, but in reality there are only individuals in “personal recession”:
HULLINGER: Are we in a recession, or are we not in the midst of a recession?
CAIN: No. [...]
CAIN: Let me elaborate on the no. [...] The reason that the administration does not use the R word is because there are three economies: the national, the local, and the personal. So what has happened is the liberal leaders have demagogued the idea of recession because some people are in personal recession, but the national economy is not in a recession. [...] I’m talking specifically about Nancy Pelosi, the Democrats in Congress, Harry Reid, that leadership, they are convincing some people that the whole nation is in shambles because of some individual personal recession.
BOORTZ: And usually because of their own individual personal decision making.
Cain was obviously wrong. The National Bureau of Economic Research found that the recession began in December 2007, five months before Cain told radio listeners that the recession was just in their heads. Cain’s comments seem to echo that of former top McCain economic adviser Phil Gramm, who said in July 2008 that the United States was simply in a “mental recession.”