- The Washington Times - Friday, July 26, 2013

In the fifth year of Barack Obama’s presidency, America’s job-starved economy remains weak, insecure and undernourished.

That’s not the economic picture reported on the nightly network news where anchors report only “good” numbers and ignore the bad ones.

But the painful reality is that the economy is slowing down, even from its widely acknowledged anemic levels.

The economic growth rate (as measured by the gross domestic product) has fallen, and many economists have lowered their GDP forecasts to a snail’s pace of 1.5 percent annualized rate of growth for the past three months. Some say it’s slowed to less than 1 percent.

The national jobless rate has risen to 7.6 percent, but is still near or well above 8 percent to 9 percent in 18 states, including some of the most highly populated (New York, California, Michigan, New Jersey and Illinois).

Americans aren’t feeling so good about the economy and its future prospects, either. Gallup released the results of its consumer confidence poll Tuesday, showing that the nation’s economic confidence has fallen.

“Americans are less upbeat about the economy than they were in May and June,” Gallup reported. “Gallup’s U.S. Economic Confidence Index held steady at minus-12 last week, but the current score is substantially lower than the five-year weekly high of minus-3 reached in late May and early June.”

“The U.S. economy appears to be weaker than many economists had thought after a [Commerce Department] report … showed consumers spent cautiously in June at retail businesses,” The Washington Post reported last week.

While the nightly news shows have done their best to keep any of this bad news out of their broadcasts, the American people know better. They see the evidence all around them. This economy isn’t getting any better, as the president and his party want us to think.

With stagnant wage levels, gas prices rising to near $4 or more for a gallon of regular, higher tax rates and the looming impact of higher Obamacare taxes and penalties for businesses that will curtail jobs, Americans are being squeezed left and right.

Last week, President Obama’s job approval polls fell into the middle 40 percent range, according to Gallup, and worried White House advisers announced the president is going to give some speeches on the economy.

Senior advisers say he’s going to place all of the blame on Congress for not acting on his “job-creating” agenda, as if anyone has a clue about what that still contains.

For the first six months of his second term, Mr. Obama has been talking about everything (in between his global sightseeing trips) from the environment to immigration to gun control.

Everything, that is to say, except the economy, which has become the unwanted orphan of his presidency. Uncared for, unacknowledged and all too often cruelly unnoticed.

But that’s not how the excuser in chief sees things. It’s not his fault that after more than four years, the economy is still in rehab and on the Fed’s life-support systems. It’s those big, bad Republicans in Congress who are to blame.

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