The US job market/economy is MUCH worse than the administration is letting on. Labor force statistics from released on Friday convicts president Obama of economic negligence. The unemployment rate fell from 7% to 6.7%, but the labor force participation rate fell to 62.8%, the lowest since 1978 (hey, Jimmy Carter). This low matches the 36-year low hit in October 2013. Worst still, only 74,000 jobs were added in December- embarrassing the administration that predicted more than 200,000 new jobs for the month.
Those people no longer in the workforce increased by 525,000 in December; 2.9 million Americans left the labor force in 2013, totaling almost 92 million people that are no longer considered a part of the labor force.
As a reminder, the country has been in an economic “recovery” since June, 2009.
The economic policies of the Obama administration has only created 6.3 million net new jobs created since he declared that the economy was in a recovery in 2009. That’s roughly half of what could’ve been created had Obama kept pace with the previous ten economic recoveries.
This is the soft underbelly to any claim by the President’s supporters that the economy has turned a corner under Barack Obama’s leadership.
For November and December, the “U-6” jobless rate that measures all of those out of work — including those who are underemployed and able but discouraged dropouts from the workforce — held stable at 13.1 percent.
There are several other indicators that demonstrate the American economy continues to be held captive by Obama’s economic ineptitude:
– The seasonally-adjusted number of Americans qualifying for unemployment claims at the end of December was 2,865,000 — an increase of approximately 50,000 over the prior week.
– Since late December, roughly 1.3 million people have run out of these unemployment benefits because they’ve been out of work so long that they’they’ve used up their lawfully-allotment of benefits. If emergency jobless benefits are extended by Congress- which is a likely possibility, it will be the 12th extension since 2008. Extending unemployment payments for three months would cost an additional $6 billion. Another year could cost more than $25 billion.
– Nationally, more than 20 million Americans are unemployed.
– The Social Security Administration said the number of people receiving disability benefits hit an all-time high in December of 10,988,269 recipients — with the average per person benefit coming close to $1,150 per month. Both the amount of recipients and the amount of benefits are all-time records.
Also affecting the state of the economy are the various fees, taxes and penalties associated with ObamaCare — from the penalty of one percent of one’s income (or $95, whichever is higher) for not being insured to increased premiums and deductibles that Americans are responsible to pay for allegedly better insurance plans Obama’s health care mandate that people are forced into joining. These punitive penalties negatively affect the wallets of middle-class Americans because they forcibly take away money that could be spent in more productive ways — ways that could have demonstrated an increase in consumer confidence in the economy.
Forcing money from the American people against their will — in this case, for mandated health insurance — makes them poorer. No matter how the Obama Administration attempts to spin this ongoing catastrophe, forced wealth redistribution is— regardless of how diligent efforts are to assign it with religious morality or good intentions.
So what’s the plan of the man whose administration is in an executive and moral freefall? It’s to extend unemployment benefits, increase the minimum wage, reduce income inequality and fight poverty with the creation of so-called “promise zones.”
In other words, Obama prefers campaign gimmicks and televised sound bites rather than crafting a serious economic policy- or looking busy while doing nothing. It appears that there’s no grey matter among the President and his brain trust.
That the President is stoically begging Congress to extend unemployment benefits, again, is a tacit admission that the economic policies of his administration has failed. His populist recovery strategy is a bad attempt to cover failure. Is this even apparent to the President or his advisors?
Our foolish President seems to think that increasing the minimum wage is serious and sound economic policy. He said as much on January 7 when he said that extending unemployment benefits “helps the economy” and “creates new jobs.”
What? How, exactly?
Again, this is a campaign issue but not a serious attempt at economic policy. Just 2.6 percent of American workers earned the minimum wage. Not even three percent!
The President’s approval ratings are in the basement — where many Millennials are coincidentally forced to live due to his economic stewardship — and he’s focused on the minimum wage? What indicts the President is that data shows that increasing the minimum wages increases unemployment that has a detrimental effect on those who are in dire need of employment and work experience — namely the poor and black teenagers. Surely, Milton Friedman, Thomas Sowell, Arthur Laffer and Project 21’s Horace Cooper can’t all be wrong.
The President’s other related focus is on “income inequality.” This, too, is nothing more than a campaign issue predicated on manipulating emotions as a result of envy, covetousness and greed.
It’s also disingenuous and screams of hypocrisy.
Income inequality has risen under this President, and the rich have gotten richer. That, and the President and his family just concluded a 17-day, $4 million dollar vacation to Hawaii — a vacation the First Lady continued to enjoy as a present for her 50th birthday at a cost of more than $200,000 during a recovery that has yet to truly manifest itself.
This causes the President’s credibility to take yet another hit (does he have any left?). But happy birthday to you anyway, Mrs. Obama.
The president has also decided to create “promise zones”- five poor areas (San Antonio, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Southeastern Kentucky, and the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma) which have a plan on how “they will partner with local business and community leaders to make investments that reward hard work and expand opportunity,” and would provide the local governments and agencies “aid in cutting through red tape to get access to existing resources.”
This sounds like a game of make-believe that blissfully naïve children play to entertain themselves.
Promise zones? How about employment zones, Mr. President? How about picking one geographic area — say, America — and putting as much energy into reducing regulation, “cutting red tape” and creating an economic climate conducive to job creation, expansion, and hiring as you do into campaigning on less-than-serious issues having little to no positive effect on the American economy?
Barack Obama has shown an indefensible indifference toward the American economy. As the unemployment rate, labor force participation rate, the numbers of Americans (47 million) on SNAP and the numbers of people forced into part time work show, Obama’s economic policies have been a disaster- and sadly, will continue to be.
If President Obama’s bluster is any indicator, 2014 will be an interesting yet frustrating year. With another recycled State of the Union campaign speech — sorry, address — scheduled for later this month, ObamaCare premiums and penalties due and elections in the fall, Americans should prepare for the political rhetoric to drown out the needed discussion on actual solutions to the nation’s problems.
Buckle up, America. It’s gonna be a bumpy ride.