Obviously, President Obama’s remark this afternoon that “the private sector is doing fine” was a politically stupid thing to say.

But, on the merits, isn’t this the case that Republicans have been making all along?

Before you pounce, let me explain.

Reuters finance blogger Felix Salmon recently remarked:

If things were working properly right now, companies would take their excess revenues and use them to hire more people. Instead, they’re basically just letting those excess revenues sit on their balance sheets as cash because they’re scared to invest in themselves. It’s frankly pathetic.

The Republican response to this is that these cash-flush job creators on “on strike.” Because they “fear” Obama administration’s anti-business agenda.

Moreover, during the primary, Newt Gingrich said, “if you could repeal Dodd-Frank tomorrow morning, you would see the economy start to improve overnight.”

Mitt Romney himself said that if he’s elected, the economy would enjoy a similar sort of psychological shift:

[Y]ou’d see a very dramatic change in the perspective of small businesses, entrepreneurs, middle-size businesses, and perhaps even some large multinationals.  They’d say, you know what, America looks like a good place to invest again, a good place to take risk, a good place to hire again.

Doesn’t this add up to the impression that the private sector is, if not fine, then structurally healthy? All it needs to come roaring back to life is the removal of this president. That does not sound like a sick animal to me. It sounds like one that’s eager to escape from its cage.

Maybe this is the correct diagnosis.

But it seems to me one can’t hold this view and simultaneously mock Obama for his estimation of the private sector’s fundamental health.