President Obama took his staff out for hamburgers Wednesday, to celebrate the end of the arm twisting over federal borrowing.
"We have now averted what could have been a disastrous blow to the economy," the President told staffers, in a lunchtime pep talk.
But the public is skeptical.
And it's not just the heavy borrowing that won't go away anytime soon that scares critics. In fact, the cuts in federal spending may be even more frightening.
Wall Street and markets overseas seemed to be saying as much this week, although the Dow did manage a slight gain Wednesday, to avoid its longest losing streak since the Carter Administration.
China, the well-documented holder of so much U.S. debt, downgraded the quality of U.S. paper from A plus to A minus.
Local news from across Southern California
And it was just a few days ago that Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said the U.S. was "living like a parasite" on the world economy.
Now, just about everyone expects the pending federal cuts to increase unemployment in the short-term.
That's bad news for everyone, especially the estimated two million people in California who have been jobless for more than a year.
"It's so unusual," worries Loree Levy of the California Employment Development Department. "We didn't see this in some of the past recessions, where you've got that many people unemployed for a year or more."
But there are still hopes that California can take the lead in evolving industries.
Assembly Speaker Jon Perez announced a new effort to promote those kinds of jobs Wednesday in San Diego.
"Fields like biotechnology and green manufacturing have the same trans formative potential that high technology had for the Silicon Valley in the 1990's."
Maybe. But for people looking for work right away, the promise of the future seems far off.