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Forward? No, we’re going backward

by George Landrith

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden never miss a chance to tell us that the economy is moving in the right direction. They claim they need more time to pull the nation out of the recession that began in 2008.

There are several problems with this line of argument. First, Obama said he would solve this problem in his first term and cut the deficit in half. He told us if he didn’t solve the problem, he would be a one-term president. Second, Obama ran for office knowing the economy was bad and he won because he convinced more voters that he would fix it. Obama got everything he wanted in his first two years because he had a compliant Democrat Congress. He spent hundreds of billions of dollars in stimulus and bailouts.  The only verifiable result is massive debt that saddles the economy and slows future growth. Third, the biggest problem with claiming that Obama is moving us forward is that it is not true. In fact, things are getting worse.

Last year, the economy was creating an average of 153,000 new jobs per month. That is no great shakes as it barely keeps up with the new workers that typically enter the work force. But even though it was nothing to brag about, it has dropped during this year to an average of 133,000 new jobs per month. And in August, new jobs were down to a pokey 96,000. And if you look at the monthly average for Obama’s “recovery,” it stands at about 75,000. Since it takes about 150,000 new jobs per month to simply stay even given that new workers such as high school and college graduates are entering the workforce for the first time each year, Obama has been falling further and further behind. There is no movement forward under Obama’s stewardship of the economy.

Even if we created almost double that many jobs, it would take about a decade to replace all the jobs lost in this recession and return to the historically low unemployment rates of 2006 and 2007. A ten-year recovery is absurdly slow. In September 1983, Reagan’s recovery created 1.1 million job. That is a year’s worth of job creation for Obama. Reagan did it in one month. The difference is leadership and pursuing the right policies. Reagan did it. Obama has not.

As disappointing as the overall numbers of the August jobs report were, the news was even worse for the manufacturing sector where Obama lost 15,000 jobs. A lot of those lost jobs were the result of automobile plant closures. So much for “we saved GM.” That campaign slogan appears as empty as “hope” and “change.”

While team Obama bragged that unemployment had dropped to 8.1 percent in August, that was because 368,000 people dropped out of the labor force. Simply stated, for every new job created, almost four workers simply lost hope and gave up looking. That doesn’t sound like progress and it certainly isn’t moving forward. To put this into perspective the labor-participation rate under Obama is the lowest in more than a generation.

Now the average length of unemployment is a whopping 39 weeks — getting dangerously close to a year. From 1984 to 2008, it took the unemployed less than half as long to find work.

If people were not giving up looking for work, the unemployment rate would top 11 percent. And if those who are “under-employed” and can only find part-time work, but want full-time work, are included the unemployment rate bulges at more than 15 percent. This all poses big problems for Obama who promised that if Congress passed his “stimulus” package (which it did), than employment would not exceed 8 percent. Of course, we have been above 8 percent unemployment for a record 44 months and we are still above 8 percent unemployment.

Obama is making it worse and slowing the recovery. There can be no serious argument that he is moving us “Forward.”

It isn’t just job growth that is anemic. The rate of economic growth has slowed to 1.7 during the second quarter of this year. This is awful and explains why there is no real job growth. Wages are stagnant with the worse rate of growth in 30 years. Gasoline has doubled since Obama took office. Food prices are rising at a record pace. And while virtually everything cost more, the median household income has dropped by $4,000 since Obama took office. None of this is moving us forward.

Historically speaking, we are recovering about half as well as we have in the past. This time around the economy has been slow to recover because Obama has done virtually everything wrong. He hasn’t proposed a budget capable of winning even a single vote on Capitol Hill. Not even those in his own party will vote for his budgets. Obama has exploded the deficit and the debt. He has passed tax increases promised not to and now he threatens more tax increases. And while increasing taxes, the Obama administration has also added to the regulatory burden of American businesses and employers. Little wonder there are few jobs and little economic growth. All of this was entirely predictable.

Excuses won’t cut it. Asking for more time makes little sense. For what? To do more of the same?