- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 21, 2011

President Obama’s job approval score sank to nearly 40 percent this week in the midst of a budget and debt-limit crisis that threatens to further weaken our economy and America’s future.

With the nation’s capital embroiled in a political standoff over how to deal with a looming $15 trillion debt and a long line of trillion-dollar-plus deficits as far as the eye can see, the president’s prospects of winning a second term next year are unlikely at best.

The Gallup Poll reported Thursday that its closely watched daily tracking polls showed Mr. Obama’s job approval numbers have fallen further in the budget battle, with only 42 percent approving of the job he’s doing and 48 percent expressing disapproval.

“This is the sixth straight quarter Obama has received less than majority approval. As a result, his average job approval rating has been below 50 percent for more of his presidency than it has not,” Gallup said.

As a satisfactory solution to the government’s crisis grows more remote with each passing day, Mr. Obama’s problems are piling up faster than his excuses.

Gallup said that three-fourths of Americans polled this month said the economy was their top concern, including rising unemployment and meager job creation, and the unprecedented deficits and debt that will worsen between now and the 2012 presidential election.

Mr. Obama is getting pounded almost daily by an unending string of bad economic news. Major financial credit agencies were preparing to downgrade our country’s AAA bond rating, which would drive up the cost of future borrowing, along with other interest rates for home mortgages, credit cards, college and business loans and just about everything else. Economists said it would be the same as imposing higher taxes on every sector of our economy.

If you think last month’s 9.2 percent unemployment rate was bad, brace yourself. The jobless rate will likely climb higher in the months to come, according to new economic data.

The Labor Department reported Thursday that new claims for unemployment benefits shot up more than economic forecasters expected last week. Initial claims rose by more than 10,000 to a seasonally adjusted 418,000, showing that declining job creation remains a severe problem in the Obama economy. And it’s only going to get worse.

“Over the next decade, the picture is even less rosy, because Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner tells us the economy is likely only to grow at its present slow pace for many years,” University of Maryland economist Peter Morici writes in this week’s analysis.

The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that “companies are laying off employees at a level not seen in nearly a year, hobbling the job market and intensifying fears about the pace of the economic recovery. … The increase in layoffs is a key reason why the U.S. recorded an average of only 21,500 new jobs over the past two months, far below the level needed to bring down unemployment.”

As for dealing with the government’s burgeoning debts, most if not all of the pending proposals to cut spending and shrink the deficit would postpone the heavy lifting much later in this decade for future Congresses, who could reverse course.

Even if the House-passed constitutional amendment to require a balanced budget (which I support) were to be adopted by Congress (though it is presumed dead in the Senate), it would likely take years to win three-fourths of the states needed for ratification.

Meantime, Mr. Obama is changing or abandoning his positions and political strategies almost weekly as he erratically bobs and weaves his way through the crisis without a consistent strategy of his own.

He began the debt battle by demanding that he be sent a clean bill raising the debt ceiling, without any spending curbs. Democrats who ran the last Congress with huge majorities never adopted a budget of their own, and without a bit of complaint from the president. His tax-and-spend budget proposals in February made no serious dent in the deficits.

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