August’s abysmally weak job growth proved yet again that President Obama’s economic policies are a miserable failure that will continue to undermine our country until he leaves office.
The government’s report that the economy added just a minuscule 96,000 jobs last month came at the end of the Democrats’ defensive national convention, where the president, Bill Clinton and other party luminaries made extravagant claims that things will get better if Mr. Obama is re-elected to a second term.
But analysts at the Federal Reserve Board, economists and business leaders say Mr. Obama’s declining economy is not going to get significantly better this year, next year or the year after that, until there are dramatic changes in the nation’s fiscal policies. Changes Obama Democrats refuse to make.
The deepening weaknesses in the employment picture also were underscored by revisions in the June and July job numbers, which found 41,000 fewer jobs were created than was reported previously.
Not only is the rate of job growth shrinking fast in the fourth year of Mr. Obama’s presidency; the economy’s growth rate also is slowing this year to a snail’s pace: 1.7 percent in the third quarter.
But he didn’t say anything about the weak job-creation rate or declining economic growth in his speech last week. Instead, he rattled off a long list of specious claims, taking credit for things for that were not true.
He told convention delegates and the nation at large that he had saved the automobile industry and boosted overall manufacturing, too. But auto-industry employment was still 12 percent below pre-recession levels, and employment data show we lost 15,000 manufacturing jobs last month, after a string of previous job losses in that sector.
Mr. Obama was playing fast and loose with the facts throughout his speech, as in his statement that “over the last three and a half years, we have focused on righting the ship … creating 4.5 million new jobs.”
But the Labor Department says job creation during Mr. Obama’s presidency has been several hundred thousand at best. In fact, “Obama is on track to have the worst jobs record of any president since World War II,” says Washington Post Fact Checker Glenn Kessler.
Mr. Obama claimed in his convention speech that he’s had to deal with an economic recession that is the worst since the Great Depression. But Ronald Reagan similarly faced a severe recession in which unemployment rose to 10.8 percent in November 1982. (Mr. Obama’s peaked at 10 percent.)
But Reagan “put in place a very different set of stimulus measures — emphasizing private-sector leadership — and when he faced the voters in 1984, the jobless rate had fallen to 7.3 percent,” economist Peter Morici points out.
Reagan’s across-the-board tax cuts — which Democrats ridiculed at the time — injected needed capital liquidity into every part of the nation’s economic bloodstream, and the economy took off like a rocket. Quarterly economic growth rates in 1984 were 8.5 percent, 7.9 percent, 6.9 percent and 5.8 percent. Compare that to Mr. Obama’s quarterly economic growth rates this year: 2.0 percent and 1.7 percent.
Mr. Obama told the country to be patient and the economy would improve under his infrastructure spending policies. But that hasn’t happened, and forecasters are predicting growth rates in the 2 percent range at best, far too weak to create the millions of jobs needed to bring unemployment down to 6 percent or less.
Unemployment fell last month, from 8.3 percent to 8.1 percent. (It’s been over 8 percent for 43 months.) But that’s because 581,000 workers stopped looking for jobs and thus were not counted among the unemployed.
To put last month’s 96,000 jobs into sharper perspective, the economy must add 377,000 a month, or 13.6 million over the next three years, to shrink unemployment to 6 percent. That will require economic growth rates in the range of 4 percent to 5 percent — levels Mr. Obama’s anti-growth, anti-capital-investment policies cannot produce now or ever.
There is more to Mr. Obama’s bleak economy than just the shrinking number of available jobs. A devastating list of other statistics, ignored by the nightly news shows, reveals a nation struggling to make ends meet. Among them:
Food stamp use hit a record high this summer, rising to 46.7 million Americans, according to the Agriculture Department. “Too many middle-class families who have fallen on hard times are still struggling,” says Agriculture Secretary Thomas J. Vilsack.
An unprecedented number of U.S. households were going hungry as they struggled to feed their families in the past year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported last week. Nearly 18 million families in 2011, 700,000 more than in 2010, didn’t always have enough food to feed themselves on a regular basis. That’s more than 50 million people, or about 1 in 6.
Household income is down significantly in the past three years. From June 2009 to June 2012, the nation’s median household income dropped 4.8 percent to $50,964, according to an independent study by Sentier Research. Median income means that 50 percent earn more than that and 50 percent earn less. The current median income level is 7.2 percent below where it stood in 2007.
Last week’s Democratic convention never mentioned any of these or other disturbing economic statistics in the Obama economy, belying the sanctimonious concern for the poor and the middle class, who have been hurt most by Mr. Obama’s harmful policies.
Instead, we got plenty of lame excuses, blame-shifting, a long list of false statistics and extravagant promises of better days to come, without Mr. Obama detailing a specific agenda to deliver the goods.
Clint Eastwood said it best at the GOP convention: “When someone isn’t doing the job, we’ve got to let him go.” The sooner Mr. Obama goes, the better off our economy will be.
Donald Lambro is a syndicated columnist and former chief political correspondent for The Washington Times.