LAMBRO: Fuzzy numbers obscure a stagnant Obama economy

Real growth is lower and real unemployment is higher than reported

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Under Mr. Obama, on the other hand, the capital-gains tax has risen for high-income investors, reducing risk-taking and shrinking job growth. That’s why investors have grown more pessimistic about the direction of our economy and why the stock market has been in decline.

“As it stands right now, the first-quarter 2014 growth rate is likely to be slower than” the fourth quarter in 2013, says Steve Blitz, chief economist at ITG Investment Research.

Why was 2013 such a lackluster year for the economy? In an analysis last week, Mr. Morici spelled out what happened during the course of the year. In a nutshell, he says, government tax increases were largely to blame.

“Throughout 2013, higher taxes on all income classes — President Obama’s levies on the wealthy, higher local taxes on the middle class, and reinstatement of Social Security taxes on lower-income workers — depressed consumer spending.”

The remaining three years in Mr. Obama’s presidency are unlikely to get much better, if the latest economic figures and studies are any forecast of the future.

In an article in The Washington Post headlined “Future bleak for long-term jobless,” a study presented last week by the liberal Brookings Institution told why millions of jobless Americans can’t expect to find work anytime soon.

Former White House economic adviser Alan Krueger, author of the study, calls “people who have been out of a job for six months or more an ‘unlucky subset of the unemployed’ who exist on the margins of the economy — with faint hope of returning to productivity,” the newspaper said.

Interest rates are headed up, driven higher by the Federal Reserve’s grossly mistaken belief that the economy is improving and thus, it can take its foot off its stimulus pedal. That will likely wreak havoc with the housing industry, shrinking home sales and the availability of construction jobs.

The average rate for the 30-year mortgage rose to 4.40 percent recently, according to government mortgage buyer Freddie Mac. It’s likely to go higher.

The number of Americans who signed contracts to buy existing homes fell for the eighth month in February. That’s the lowest level since 2012, says the National Association of Realtors.

This economy stinks. Even though it’s not getting reported on the evening news, the American people know that our country has been moving in the wrong direction ever since 2009.

Donald Lambro is a syndicated columnist and contributor to The Washington Times.

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