- - Thursday, April 17, 2014

Barack Obama is getting a number of critical report cards about his foreign and domestic policies lately — signs that America is tiring of his presidency.

Here at home, Janet Yellen, in her first monetary policy address as the head of the Federal Reserve Board, said the labor markets are still weak, and that it will likely take two years or more before the United States fully recovers from its recession. Ouch.

If Ms. Yellen’s forecast proves right, this means it will have taken Mr. Obama's administration nearly eight years to lift our economy out of its long and painful lethargy. She expressed grave concern that the economy’s 6.7 percent unemployment rate was still significantly above the jobless level the Fed considers normal.

While Ms. Yellen was voicing some anguish over the large number of long-term unemployed and those who can only find low-paying, part-time work, Mr. Obama was campaigning in Oakdale, Penn., dishing out job-training grants at a local community college.

The president has been spending tens of billions of dollars on a wasteful, duplicative, maze of job-training programs that do nothing to create new jobs. That would require much stronger economic growth, but under his anti-jobs policies, growth has been painfully slow, less than 2 percent last year, and job creation remains anemic.

More recently, the president has turned to several of his party’s threadbare, fallback positions, including raising the minimum wage again, this time to $10.10. The Congressional Budget Office slapped down his idea, saying that it would destroy at least 500,000 primarily low-wage jobs and possibly as many as 1 million.

Instead of talking about incentives to boost job-creating capital investment and business expansion, Mr. Obama and the Democrats talk only about fairness, gender equality, employer health care mandates, and making businesses and wealthier people pay their “fair share.”

With his party facing its toughest election challenges in years, “and burdened with persistently high unemployment, Obama is playing the race, gender and class cards. Fabricating fear and injustice, such tactics keep the economy in slow gear and make worse the very people the president professes to help,” says University of Maryland business economist Peter Morici.

The lackluster economy and his unpopular Obamacare law will be the overriding political issues in the November elections. However, Mr. Obama’s failures extend across the foreign-policy landscape, too, and some of the criticism is coming from the liberal news media.

In a front page story Thursday, The Washington Post took the president to task for his failed policy, announced three years ago, to refocus U.S. attention on Asia, which his advisers said would become a pillar of his foreign policy.

“The result, as Obama prepares to travel to the region next week, has been a loss of confidence among some U.S. allies about the administration’s commitment at a time of escalating regional tensions,” Post correspondent David Nakamura said in a devastating critique of his Asian policy. “Relations between Japan and South Korea are at one of the lowest points since World War II, and China has provoked both with aggressive actions at sea despite a personal plea from Vice President [Joseph] Biden in December,” he reported.

Even the Asian policy’s original architects were harshly criticizing the administration’s handling of it.

“Relations have gone from being generally positive at the strategic level among the great powers to extremely difficult,” says Kurt M. Campbell, a former assistant secretary of state, who helped develop the “pivot” strategy toward Asia. Under this administration, it has become “a much more challenging strategic landscape,” Mr. Campbell said.

Mr. Obama and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton rolled out the policy in 2011, announcing that the new U.S. strategy would turn away from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and shift their attention to China’s growing dominance.

However, their “pivot” strategy has since turned into a series of stumbles in the past year, with one crisis after another in the Middle East, Eastern Europe and in Asia.

Story Continues →