President Obama spent the last four years blaming President George W. Bush for the economic malaise. Now he’s pointing the finger at congressional Republicans. It’s time for Mr. Obama to man up and accept he’s the cause of our shrinking economy.
The Commerce Department on Wednesday revealed the economy contracted 0.1 percent in the fourth quarter, which is quite a plunge from the previous quarter’s 3.1 percent increase in gross domestic product. The nation’s economic engine has been sputtering throughout Mr. Obama’s presidency, but this was the first time it has actually gone negative since 2009.
Asked about the bad news, White House press secretary Jay Carney said that the economy is “facing a major headwind … and that’s Republicans in Congress.” He blamed the economic decline on uncertainty over the government spending reductions threatened by the sequestration scheduled for March. 1.
Mr. Carney said Republicans are not cooperating and refuse to agree to Mr. Obama’s demand to replace the cuts with more tax hikes. Mr. Carney also hung the GOP out to dry for their resistance to White House demands for billions more in stimulus spending and “investment” in projects that line the pockets of Big Labor bosses or fund pointless windmill projects.
The finger-pointing is especially galling since Mr. Obama spent his entire re-election campaign promising prosperity was just around the corner. “The economic recovery has begun,” he proudly stated in his inaugural address two weeks ago.
As Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, said on the Senate floor Thursday, “If the White House spent nearly as much time trying to actually fix the economy as it did claiming it was fixed — and then finding excuses and scapegoats when its premature pronouncements turned out to be false — I suspect the economy would actually be doing better than it is today.”
Congressional Democrats predictably took their lead from the White House. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid blasted his GOP counterpart for bad-mouthing the economy. “We are in a recovery,” the Nevada Democrat insisted. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, said Wednesday’s economic report was “a direct result of the economic uncertainty created by House Republicans’ strategy of obstruction and manufactured crises.”
In terms of symbolism, Mr. Obama chose a bad week to disband his jobs council. Though having him admit even one government program is worthy of elimination is a major breakthrough, there are many other federal endeavors in greater need of disbanding. He needs to get rid of useless bureaucracy on a much larger scale for it to have any impact on the bottom line.
The reality is Mr. Obama doesn’t care about jobs or economic growth. If he did, he would acknowledge the past four years of borrow-and-spend have been an utter failure on both counts. Mr. Obama has taken $5.8 trillion in wealth from future generations, pumping it into ever-expanding government programs today. Instead of expanding employment and prosperity, this reckless expenditure has put the nation on the verge of a double-dip recession.
Mr. Obama hasn’t deviated from this doomed course because his economic policy is really a political policy. It’s about creating dependency and adding to the ranks of voters beholden to the federal government. It’s about class warfare and envy to win elections. Instead of passing the buck, it’s time for the president to realize he needs to put the politics aside before his party’s future collapses along with America’s chance of restoring prosperity.
Emily Miller is a senior editor for the Opinion pages at The Washington Times.