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LAMBRO: Treating terrible economy with higher taxes
Wrong policies produce depressing results
Question of the Day
The definition of a failed, spendthrift, debt-producing fiscal policy is making the same proposals over and over again and expecting a different result.
In some political circles, it’s also the definition of crazy.
This is what President Obama has been doing during the past four years and, more recently, what he intends to do this year and over the next four years of his second term — with little to show for it.
Mr. Obama’s 2009, big spending, shovel-ready, jobs stimulus plan ended up spending about $1 trillion in public funds on research, roads, bridges, education, dubious clean energy projects and a lengthy list of other federal, state and local programs here and around the country.
Government grew bigger, economic growth shrank, the federal debt mushroomed, and Mr. Obama presided over the slowest, so-called “recovery” since the Great Depression.
Four years later, he’s still proposing we spend more public money on research, roads, bridges, education and dumping more tax dollars into politically connected green energy projects (many of which have gone bankrupt).
It should be clear to everyone that Mr. Obama’s economic stimulus spending plan has been a tragic failure. Doing more of the same, as White House advisers revealed he would just before his State of the Union address, isn’t going to produce a different result.
Let’s recap just where we are right now after the past four years:
The Commerce Department says the economy stopped growing in the fourth quarter of 2012. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) forecasts the economy will grow very slowly this year and next, maybe in the 1 percent range, creating relatively few jobs. Unemployment rose to nearly 8 percent in January, according to the Labor Department. The CBO says the jobless rate will remain in this range for the rest of this year, at least, under existing policies.
Nobel Prize-winning economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, one of Mr. Obama’s earliest supporters, had this to say about the economy in 2012: “Things are not OK — not remotely OK. This is still a terrible economy, and policymakers should be doing much more than they are to make it better.”
Mr. Krugman is not among those in the White House and the national news media who are peddling the idea that the economy is back and we are out of the woods. Heck, no. Last week’s Washington Post paperback best-seller list included his book, “End This Depression Now!”
Do you get the picture? The American people do. A Pew Research Center poll near the end of January reported that Americans were far more worried about the economy than any other issue.
The economy, jobs and the budget deficit were the top three concerns most frequently cited by the voters, issues Mr. Obama stopped talking about after his narrow re-election. The issues he has been focusing on — gun control, illegal immigration and global warming — were 17th, 18th and 21st on the nation’s worry list, Pew reported.
One of the top issues that concern most Americans is uncontrolled government spending that has produced four straight years of trillion-dollar deficits, and it will remain near that level or higher this year, according to the CBO.
Any long-term solution to the government’s mounting public debt (owed to outside lenders), which will reach $12 trillion by the end of 2013, has run into a budget sequester that menacingly looms over our economy.
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About the Author
By Donald Lambro
Growth spikes are little more than trend-free anomalies
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