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In the less than a week before the election, Mr. Romney must drive home the core of his campaign to deny the president a second term: Mr. Obama has failed to pull the economy out of its slump and put tens of millions of unemployed and underemployed Americans back to work.

“The [7.8 percent] unemployment rate has been lowered mostly by folks quitting the job market altogether,” writes University of Maryland economist Peter Morici. “If the adult labor force participation rate was the same today as when the recovery began, unemployment would stand at 9.7 percent.

“Adding in folks relegated to part-time work, but who would prefer full-time positions, the jobless rate jumps to 14.7 percent,” Mr. Morici said.

Mr. Romney has pounded Mr. Obama with a litany of evidence that his stimulus spending has not worked and never could work. While Mr. Obama talks only about protecting the middle class, the group that have suffered the most from his anti-growth policies has been the middle class.

Declining median income is 8 percent lower than it was in 2007, the year before the economy fell into a recession. It’s down 2.3 percent from Mr. Obama’s first year in office.

More than 46 million Americans are living below the federal poverty line, the highest in more than two decades. A record 46 million Americans are on food stamps. The Agriculture Department reports a growing number of Americans are going hungry.

An estimated 3.5 million people are homeless, including 1.5 million children. The Education Department recently estimated that there were more than 1 million homeless students nationwide.

Home foreclosure starts grew this summer by 16 percent, and 2.42 million people were delinquent two months or more on their mortgages.

New business startups are at their lowest level in 30 years. It takes investment capital to start a business, and Mr. Obama has declared war on investors and small businesses. His plan to raise the capital-gains tax rate and the two top income-tax rates would hurt investment, the lifeblood of a growing economy, and small businesses, too.

“More than three years after the recovery began — in name, at least — the economy is still in a giant hole,” The Post’s Mr. Irwin reported Tuesday.

Two years after the 1981-82 recession, the Reagan economy came roaring back with muscular GDP rates as high as 8.5 percent. It just takes a change in policies and a new president who knows how to do it.

Donald Lambro is a syndicated columnist and former chief political correspondent for The Washington Times.