At issue is the jobs report issued by the Department of Labor for June, which reveals that a cadaverous 18,000 jobs were created for the month, 83 percent less than the 105,000 jobs predicted. The "unexpectedly" low jobs growth contributed to the rise in the unemployment rate, which rose to 9.2 percent. To put this in perspective, economists say that we need to create 125,000-150,000 jobs per month just to keep up with population growth, and we need to be creating roughly 300,000 jobs per month to begin seeing strong economic growth. The news was made even worse by the revelation that far fewer jobs had been created in May than originally reported, which was also "unexpected".
Shortly after taking office Obama used the fiscal crisis to ram through the "stimulus" package, which we were told would keep unemployment below 8 percent if passed, and warned that unemployment would go as high as 9 percent if it did not pass. We passed it, and in the nearly two and a half years since, unemployment rose from 7.8 percent in January 2009 when Obama took office, to 10.1 percent in October 2009 (a full eight months after the bill was signed into law), hovered just below 10 percent for a while before dipping to 8.8 percent in April 2011. Unemployment has ticked up every month since, and Obama's own Treasury Secretary warns that it could be more than five years before we see a drop to Bush-era unemployment levels.
The Obama model has been a grab bag of cheap fiscal novelties, shiny and amusing at first glance but ultimately worthless. Stimulus, Son of Stimulus, auto union bailouts, teachers union and government employee bailouts, Summer of Recovery, Summer of Recovery II, Cash for Clunkers, ObamaCare (which Nancy Pelosi claimed would create four million jobs, and 400,000 almost immediately), Quantitative Easing, QE2, one-year payroll tax reduction, "shovel-ready" jobs...the list is seemingly endless.
Yet what do we have to show for it? Sustained high (and rising) unemployment, highest debt-to-GDP ratios since World War II, record debt and deficits, a weak dollar, high inflation in commodities like oil and food, and fear by small business owners to turn their dollars loose to invent, invest and create jobs.
But don't tell our illustrious, Harvard-educated, most-brilliant-man-ever-to-become-president, Community Organizer in Chief that. No, he knows who the real culprits are, the ones making our economy suffer. Of course, he's already revealed in past speeches some of the facilitators of fiduciary failure. Those include such arch enemies as ATMs, airport kiosks, tax cuts for the rich, the earthquake in Japan and unease about the European fiscal situation, high gas prices, and other "bumps" in the road.
Regardless, none of the current climate of economic stagnation can be laid at the feet of Obama. Just ask him and he'll tell you. These are problems that he "inherited", problems which "weren't created overnight, and they're not going to be solved overnight." It is a national secret as to when "overnight" will finally give way to the era when Obama takes responsibility for the financial situation.
Friday's speech was more of the same, with a few new twists. We got a dose of the tried-and-true, from reiterations that its "not going to be fixed overnight", that "we've always known that we'd have ups and downs," to the well-worn need to "invest" in roads, bridges and infrastructure (because the $180 billion allocated for roads and bridges in the stimulus bill was apparently not enough), and acknowledgements of other "tough headwinds" that are impeding his brilliant plan from working as it should.
Of course, there are some new villainous miscreants that have raised their vile heads and must be dealt with in order to revive the economy; for example, the need to streamline the patent process. So true...the cacophony of complaints about the un-streamlined patent process that has cost hundreds of thousands of jobs is a drumbeat we've all heard relentlessly (writer's note...the preceding sentence was an example of gratuitous sarcasm meant to convey said writer's exasperation at the litany of ridiculous excuses by Democrats and the president as to why their economic policies have been a miserable failure, and should not be taken literally).
Obama also mentioned the need to have Congress immediately pass already negotiated trade agreements which have bipartisan support as one way to spur the economy and produce more jobs. This is more than a little disingenuous since the trade agreements he is referring to (agreements negotiated under the Bush presidency with South Korea, Panama and Colombia) were held up by Obama until Republicans agreed to swallow a poison pill in the form of the Trade Adjustment Assistance program, a sop to Democrats' union cronies that, as the Heritage Foundation notes, "provides overly generous benefits for just a small fraction of laid-off workers. TAA gives those workers two years of job training, a year of Trade Adjustment Allowances, money for job searching and relocation, a refundable health care tax credit and a two-year wage insurance program to supplement lower earnings." A sweet deal if you are one of the few.
Obama's tone would have you believe that he is impatiently waiting for Congress to get the trade agreements approved so he can sign them, but such is not the case. Last month in a call with reporters, senior White House economist Gene Sperling unapologetically admitted that Obama would not allow submission of "implementing legislation on the three pending [free trade agreements] until we have a deal with Congress on the renewal of a robust TAA program consistent with the objectives" of the stimulus bill passed in 2009. In other words, pony up cash for more lavish benefits for displaced union workers, or the trade agreement gets a bullet in the back of the head, Chicago-style.
In closing he tossed out a few paeans to the need to rein in the deficits and spending and to get government living within its means, provided, of course, that we don't cut funding for more government "investments."
In the end, we should not expect to see much improvement in the economy until Obama is voted out of office. Obama is not a stupid man, which means that he is willing to sacrifice the economy and the welfare of millions of Americans in order to pursue a far-left ideological agenda. If he wasn't so ideologically driven, he'd be able to look at historical indicators of what brings an economy back to prosperity. He could, like Kennedy and Reagan, do the only thing government can do to create long-term jobs...cut tax rates, drastically reduce regulations, stabilize the currency by ending the flood of loose dollars which devalue assets and savings, and most importantly, drastically reduce spending by government to free up capital in the private sector for job creation. As a bonus, he could stop using language that paints businesses as the enemy of the poor, helpless workers and consumers. Any and all of these things would be better than the Magic 8 Ball approach he is using now.
On the bright side, for once he didn't blame Bush.
Louis DeBroux is a Taylorsville resident, married, with eight children. He is chairman of the Bartow County Republican Party. He owns Gatekeeper data backup and recovery. He can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.