LAMBRO: The human toll of the Obama economy

As Americans lose hope, more lose their lives

Forget everything you’ve been told by President Obama about the economy getting “stronger,” or what you’ve heard on the nightly news about the “solid” recovery.

The economy is slowing down and getting weaker, and millions of Americans, as a result, are suffering and dying.

It isn’t getting the attention it deserves from the national news media, which seem to play up all the “good” numbers, while ignoring or playing down the weaker economic data.

Scott Pelley, the CBS News anchor, regularly touts all of the modest housing starts (that still are at basement levels) and rising home prices, as if it proved the economy was going gangbusters. It isn’t.

The cold, hard, insufferable reality is that the Commerce Department this week slashed its previous 2.4 percent first-quarter economic growth estimate to a meager 1.8 percent annual rate. This follows a pathetic 0.4 percent growth rate in the last three months of 2012.

Virtually all of the categories that go into measuring the gross domestic product growth rate were lower. Consumer spending was revised downward from the exaggerated 3.4 percent estimate to a more modest 2.6 percent.

Slower growth means fewer jobs are created, the unemployment rate will remain at high levels for the foreseeable future, and businesses large and small will be struggling to survive.

It’s not going to get better under this administration’s anti-growth policies. “Many analysts think growth has slowed in the April-June quarter to an annual rate of 2 percent or less,” The Associated Press reported this week.

Don’t take my word for it. Listen to Nobel Prize-winning economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, who this week used even tougher language to describe the Obama economy.

Terms like “modest recovery,” “slow recovery” or even “recession” do not begin to describe what we’re actually going through. “We’re still very much living through what amounts to a low-grade depression,” says the liberal economist who was one of Mr. Obama’s earliest supporters.

It isn’t the first time Mr. Krugman has sharply criticized the Obama economy. Last year, as the presidential campaign was getting underway, the Princeton professor wrote: “Things are not OK — not remotely OK. This is still a terrible economy .”

Mr. Krugman made his comments in a column that took Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke to task for suggesting that the economy was on the mend and that the Fed would soon be reducing its bond-buying stimulus efforts.

Mr. Krugman fears, as many other economists do, that “this is very much the wrong signal to be sending given the state of the economy” and that “the Fed’s bad messaging reduces the chances that we’re going to exit that depression any time soon.”

I have never agreed with any of Mr. Krugman’s ideas about how to improve the economy. (For one thing, he wanted Mr. Obama to double his $800 billion infrastructure spending stimulus in 2009.) However, he honestly cuts Mr. Obama no slack about the severe jobless rate we’ve endured over the past 5 years of his presidency.

Certainly, measured unemployment is down to 7.6 percent, “but that mainly reflects a decline in the number of people actively seeking jobs, rather than an increase in” the number of jobs that are available, he says. Exactly.

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