When it comes to the economy there continues to be very little success to celebrate, unless the understanding of success is defined downward. And under President Obama, economic success has indeed been defined downward, at the expense of millions of struggling Americans.
The president, possibly realizing this fact- a mere six years too late, made a significant portion of his uninspiring SOTU address about reviving “middle class economics.” This was nothing more than a continuation of his predictable pattern of recycling campaign rhetoric of wealth redistribution in lieu of actual economic policies that facilitates more job creation and more employed Americans.
The proof Obama’s unserious plan for the economy was his $4 trillion dollar budget that most everyone panned. The President’s budget contained $2 trillion dollars in tax increases with the intention of redistributing some of the revenue to the middle class. It bears repeating- redistribution of wealth isn’t economic growth. Reduced regulation, incentivizing the market that leads to substantial job creation combined with wage increases is what stimulates economic growth.
And of course, job creation still isn’t where it should be. Private payroll firm ADP claims that the private sector created 213,000 jobs last month- far below expectations (shocker), and down from the 252,000 jobs created in December. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that 257,000 jobs were created, slightly better than the number of jobs created in December. The unemployment rate ticked up slightly 5.7%, while the unemployment rates for blacks fell slightly to 10.3% while and Latinos increased to 6.7%. The U-6 measure shows that the unemployment rate is 11.3%- nearly twice the official rate, which bounced the labor force participation rate back up to 62.9%, which remained in the same two-tenths of a point limbo it’s been since April. Still, 9 million people remain unemployed, 6.8 million underemployed, and 92+million remain out of the workforce.
For many months, I’ve researched an written about the actual economic conditions that characterize this so-called recovery, which is a contrast to what the Obama administration reports and celebrates. During this time, I’ve noted that that the numbers coming out of the Dept. of Labor, at best, have been “allegedly” falsified in an effort to absolve Obama from his responsibility for- and contribution- to the perpetually weak economy. At worst, the true nature of the economy has been intentionally underreported for ideological and deceptive reasons related to Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign.
The true nature of the economy is the number of people who remain unemployed, the underemployed, the number of Americans who are not in the workforce; the numbers of monthly job creation that’s well below monthly population growth; the number of jobs created during the past several years and how they’ve gone to immigrants both legal and illegal as opposed to native-born Americans. All of these specific economic indicators are what the Obama administration neglects to mention and what his press secretaries in the media actively decide to keep from the country.
This past week, the Chairman and CEO of Gallup, Jim Clifton, penned a commentary that has confirmed common sense and what we’ve been relaying for months. The actual unemployment rate of 5.6% (for December) is baloney as a result of the method in which the government counts those who’re employed and unemployed. For example if one gives up looking for work for four weeks in a row, s/he isn’t counted as unemployed; they’re simply ignored. At the same time, if one works a single hour a week and earns more than $20, s/he isn’t counted as unemployed, but as employed. Those working part time and want or need full time work, they’re counted as “employed”, not unemployed. This is one reason why people refer to the alternative measure that counts unemployment, the U-6 rate, as closer to the actual unemployment rate. As Clifton says himself, “The official unemployment rate, which cruelly overlooks the suffering of the long-term and often permanently unemployed as well as the depressingly underemployed, amounts to a Big Lie.” A lie that benefits Obama and continues to stifle this “recovery.”
In a separate commentary, Clifton also reports that, for the first time in 35 years, more businesses are dying than are created. Since 2008, business creation has fallen below the business failure rate. According to Breitbart, “America has just 6 million businesses with one or more employers– 3.8 million of which have four or fewer employees. In total, these 6 million U.S. companies provide jobs for more than 100 million people in America.” From the report itself, “There are about a million companies with five to nine employees, 600,000 businesses with 10 to 19 employees, and 500,000 companies with 20 to 99 employees. There are 90,000 businesses with 100 to 499 employees. And there are just 18,000 with 500 employees or more, and that figure includes about a thousand companies with 10,000 employees or more. Altogether, that is America, Inc.”
Several other things continue to point to the non-recovery, recovery Obama celebrates:
- The economy’s growth last quarter was only 2.6 percent, which was well under the 3.2 percent GDP was projected to grow. When the year is averaged out, the economy only grew 2.4%. Many economists are celebrating the best year of economic growth since 2010, which shows how hard they’re trying to find something to celebrate. Again, this is defining success down;
- The Center for Immigration Studies found that since 2009, the Obama administration has dutifully and quietly gifted over 5 million work permits for “non-immigrant foreigners who arrived as tourists, students, illegal immigrants or other types of migrants…” which according to the Center, is outside the laws and limits set by congressional authority- again, at the expense of American workers. If the number of people already given work permits is added to the number of people included in Obama’s unconstitutional executive action of delayed deportation of illegal immigrants, more than 10 million foreign workers will be added to the economy by the end of this year- further suppressing wages due to the increased pool of labor. When that number is combined with the average yearly flow of immigrants into the country, Obama will have added 18 million non-native Americans to the economy since 2009- which wouldn’t necessarily be an issue if we had a strong economy that wasn’t hamstrung by regulations, poor job creation, and government mandates;
- Tax revenues hit a record $739,482,000,000 for the first quarter of fiscal year 2015. Yet, the federal government ran a $176,664,000,000 deficit during that time, according to the Monthly Treasury Statement. The White House projects that for the totality of fiscal year 2015, the federal government will take in more than $3.1 trillion in tax revenues, another record. Yet the president is intent on raising taxes;
- John Deere, and DreamWorks Animation both downsized in the form of layoffs;
- Homeownership rates are at a 20-year low, according to the Commerce Department, via the Wall Street Journal. According to their estimations, slightly under 64 percent of Americans owned their home at the end of last year. As a result, naturally, prices in the rental market continue to climb;
- Obamacare continues to do its part to further hamper the economy. A recent Congressional Budget Office report projects the president’s signature legislation will cost the government $1.993 trillion while taking in more than $643 million in new taxes, penalties and fees over the next decade. The net trillion-dollar price tag- which will still leave close to 30 million uninsured (which was one of the reasons Democrats unilaterally passed this)- will average out to a cost of $50,000 per person insured under Obamacare. This in light of Obama’s repeated promise that in passing this impractical bill, he wouldn’t add a dime to our deficits;
- The Census reports that 20 percent of all children in the country relies on food stamps. Prior to the recession, that number was one in eight.
Obama claimed in his SOTU address that, “the shadow of crisis has passed” and we were going to “turn the page.” It may be a different page but it’s the same tired, old story.