Because of the administration perpetual damage control these days- attempting to manage the repercussions of the President’s ongoing and mounting missteps, the economy seems all but forgotten.
Domestically, these blunders include- but aren’t limited to- the continuing and unanswered questions surrounding the IRS’ political intimidation scandal. There’s also the man-made distraction that is Attorney General Eric Holder who encouraged his state-based counterparts to disregard their oaths to their respective state constitutions and not defend laws they personally disagree with. He also tried to persuade states to lift bans that would allow convicted felons voting privileges.
And there’s yet another Obamacare implementation modification and two-year delay to the imposition of the individual mandate.
On the world stage these blunders include the repercussions of Syrian’s civil war and humanitarian disaster that occurred while Obama weakly endeavored to erase the red line he set in regards to Bashir Assad’s murdering of his own people. Then there’s Iran’s disruption of Middle East politics and mocking of the president’s threat of military force to contain Iran. And who can ignore Putin’s methodical attempt to expand the Russian empire into Ukraine.
Again, because of the President’s contribution to these distractions, the economy is the forgotten man. The economy receives scant mention by the media and not taken seriously by the President or his economic advisors.
The national unemployment rate had a slight increase to 6.7%, (U-6 is 12.6%) representing 10.5 million Americans still looking for work. The long term unemployed increased by 203k in February, bringing the total number of Americans unemployed 27-weeks or longer to 3.8 million.
The Obama administration will continue to spin this report as (more) evidence of and economy slowly gaining momentum even though the nation’s GDP was revised downward to a 2.4% annual growth pace in the fourth quarter, not the 3.2% that was initially reported.
Five years after the president’s celebrated $900 billion “stimulus package,” there are still more people out of the workforce today than when he took office in January 2009. There are more people receiving food stamps and federal disability than when he took office as well. The annual average labor force participation rate reached a 35-yr-low, averaging 63.2% for 2013. All of this is indicative of the fact that this “recovery”- if one still wants to call it that- is the weakest since the Second World War.
The CBO’s recently released report describes the reality in detail. It notes that the sluggish recovery, the inverse relation of the unemployment rate drop to the high numbers of disaffected, potential employees who’ve left the labor force (including the high numbers of the long-term unemployed) and the low demand for goods and services that’s partially responsible for the slow growth of payrolls is expected to negatively affect the nation’s economy for at least a decade.
Month after month, the economic indicators have become increasingly ominous, yet very little has been done, let alone addressed. The country is in a vulnerable position and in need of leadership- particularly on this issue. But it won’t be found in the person reclined in the Oval Office who disrespectfully puts his feet up on the Resolute Desk.
Consider the president’s recently released, $4 trillion dollar partisan budget that Democrats will use as a campaign platform for the midterm elections. The president wants more tax increases with projected revenue of more than a trillion dollars; he wants to decrease the size and pay for members of our military (even though food stamp use among our soldiers has increased under Obama).
Obama also wants to create and fund more social programs like “universal preschool” and he wants to extend unemployment insurance. There are even budget sub-topics such as ending homelessness, increasing minimum wage and immigration reform.
If that wasn’t unserious enough, the president’s budget also calls for a $1 billion-dollar, “resilience fund,” that would combat the negative effects of climate change. This would give the EPA the money and power to impose the president’s regulation-heavy agenda on the country, causing energy costs to increase, cheating the economy of over $2 trillion over the next twenty-plus years.
Obama’s budget is in no way a sober attempt to deal with the economic difficulties facing the country, many he directly contributed to. In other words, zero substance, which is perfectly reflective of its author.
The state of the nation’s economy matters very little to the president. Obama hasn’t been held accountable for the country’s poor economic situation thus far and I suspect very little will change that fact in the near future.