Here's David "axis of evil" Frum, on the day after the election, claiming that FDR deliberately delayed an economic recovery until his inauguration and hinting that Obama will do the same:
Got that? The economy is already turning around. But if it isn't, it's Obama's fault.
[M]any suspected that Roosevelt understood that the worse things were on the day before he took office, the better he would look on his first day in.
Deliberately or not, Roosevelt maximized political and economic uncertainty for almost half a year at unknowable cost to the American people, but to his own ultimate political benefit.
Might such a temptation be repeated? There are signs that the worst of the Wall Street financial crisis lies behind us. Credit conditions are thawing, huge liquidity has been injected into markets and stock indexes seem to have apparently stabilized. A recession has begun, but its severity remains uncertain.
From the point of view of the new president, this bottoming out is premature. He needs the recovery to begin in January and will benefit if it can be made to look that way.
That would be understandable politics. It could be very dangerous economics.