- The Washington Times - Monday, October 10, 2011

The latest unemployment numbers are bad news for millions of Americans. President Obama is among them. The fact announced Friday that unemployment remained stuck at a dreadful 9.1 percent in September proves that Mr. Obama’s big-government economic machinations have completely failed. The recession technically ended in June 2009, but the jobless rate has been over 9 percent the whole time since then except for two months. When the 2012 election finally rolls around, Barack should be the latest to join the unemployment line.

The misery in the country these days is widespread. There are more than 45.3 million Americans on food stamps. That’s a record, according to the Department of Agriculture. About 4.5 million Americans have been jobless for a year or longer. That’s another record and the worst sustained period of long-term unemployment since the Great Depression, according to Associated Press. The reality is even more bleak when considering the millions of Americans who used to have full-time jobs but the only gig they can find now is part-time work at 7-Eleven, Wal-Mart or waiting tables. In total, the number of underemployed in this country amounts to a scary 18 percent.

The government’s official figure pegs the number without jobs at 14 million, but that doesn’t include almost as many who have given up looking for work and thus aren’t counted by bureaucrats. Throw everybody who’s underworked into the mix and the tally jumps to over 42 million. That’s more than the populations of New York state, Ohio and Michigan combined. Given these dire straits, it’s hardly a surprise that homeownership also is at its lowest level since the Great Depression. Blacks have been hit the hardest by the recent wave of foreclosures and now only 44.3 percent own their own homes, compared to 72.2 percent among whites, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Under the first black president, fewer blacks own homes that at any time since 1960. More than 11.4 percent of all houses - or 15 million homes - in American are now empty, leading to record blight. So much for the American Dream.

President Obama and his crowd haven’t shown much sympathy for the masses during his Great Recession. It was obtuse, to put it lightly, when he jetted off to Martha’s Vineyard right after concluding his bus tour of the Midwest to feel everybody’s pain. It was leaked by White House sources that first lady Michelle Obama blew more than $10 million in taxpayer funds on five-star vacations in a single year. On his late-night show, Jay Leno said, “President Barack Obama told his Cabinet yesterday to insure that every taxpayer dollar is spent wisely. But there was one embarrassing moment when he had to explain to the Cabinet what a taxpayer was.” There is an fundamental truth behind this crack. This administration has tax cheats in important positions, such as Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner. When the rules don’t apply to policymakers, policy neither reflects nor allays the concerns of normal people.

The Democrats’ cluelessness creates an opportunity for Republicans to take control of the White House and both houses of Congress next year. The GOP needs to seize the moment and explain why less government can reverse this national slide into oblivion.

Brett M. Decker is editorial page editor of The Washington Times. He is coauthor of the new book “Bowing to Beijing” (Regnery, 2011).

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