- - Sunday, January 18, 2015

NEW YORK — The State of the Union is perilous, as you can tell for yourself by considering the information available online published by the Obama administration itself.

Since the last economic peak in 2007, America’s population increased, jobs that sustain households disappeared, and our total debts have climbed. Meanwhile, threats to this country have only mounted.

According to the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 13.8 million (5.9 percent) more Americans of working age in 2013 than in 2007: 245.7 million as compared to 231.9 million. By contrast, the number of full-time jobs declined by 4.8 million — 4 percent — from 121.1 million in 2007 to 116.3 million in 2013.

Granted, the number of part-time jobs increased 10.7 percent, from 24.9 million to 27.6 million. Still, the total number of jobs actually declined by 2.1 million, or 1. 5 percent, from 146.0 million to 143.9 million.

Some, including President Obama, may suggest this record constitutes progress as things might have been much worse absent the “stimulus” and “monetary easing.” As previews of his Tuesday State of the Union address make plain, President Obama remains convinced that squeezing “the rich” is a painless solution to America’s economic problems.

He is as wrong in January 2015 as he has been throughout his career — and the biggest trouble for him is that his administration’s own numbers contradict him.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ “Consumer Expenditure Surveys,” the number of “consumer units” (bureaucratese for households) increased 5.5 million (4.6 percent) from 120.1 million in 2007 to 125.7 million in 2013. But the average after-tax income per household declined by $4,506 (7.4 percent) — from $60,858 in 2007 to $56,352 in 2013.

This misery was shared across the entire spectrum of America’s households, though not equally. The poorest 20 percent of households experienced a 4.2 percent decline in after-tax income, from $10,534 in 2007 to $10,092 in 2013. The next poorest 20 percent saw a 2.4 percent decline —from $27,419 to $26,764.

And the richest segment was hit with an 11.2 percent decline in after-tax income, from $150,927 to $134,044.

Falling incomes are a disturbing reality outside the bubble covering the Washington, D.C. area — especially so in the private sector, where competition is fierce and getting fiercer.

No president in America’s history has enjoyed as much latitude to jump-start the economy while supposedly winding down foreign military engagements as has Mr. Obama.

From 2009 through 2013, the federal government’s total expenditures exceeded income by a whopping $6.3 trillion, according to the U.S. Commerce Department. These deficits were financed during a period when interest rates declined far below levels seen from 2000 through 2008, let alone during the period 1981 through 1999.

Meanwhile, across the entire American economy, the level of total debt, at $56.7 trillions, was 13.2 percent higher at year-end 2013 than at year-end 2007.

In January 2015, we are even more exposed to danger than we were before President Obama took office. Among the threats: indistinct enemies animated by radical Islamist ideology; increasingly hostile nations such as Russia; and an overstretched, unregulated and interconnected global system that is out of balance.

Why should Americans bother pretending our president knows how to help?

Charles Ortel serves as managing director of Newport Value Partners (NewportValue.com), which provides economic research to executives and to investment firms.

• Charles Ortel can be reached at ckortel@yahoo.com.

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