Feb. 21 (Bloomberg) — The White House’s economic achievement checklist looks better each day. Unemployment rate back in the low 8 percent range? Check. The Dow Jones Industrial Average back above 12,000? Check. Payroll-tax cut extended for the rest of this year, giving an extra boost to the economy? Check.
Yet a worrisome item casts a shadow over the good news. The political risk of rising gasoline prices is the emerging hot topic in Washington. The question is: Are gas prices and their impact on middle-class families like the weather, a phenomenon everyone complains about but no one can change? Or can President Barack Obama and his team defuse this danger before it grows harder to manage?