Lackluster Jobs Report

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.

Economic Chickens Come Home to Roost

To take a phrase used by President Obama’s former pastor, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, the “chickens are coming home to roost” for Obama and his economic policies.

Under Obama’s watch, America’s middle class is suffering.

It was recently revealed that over 11 million Americans will likely face a “no insurance” tax penalty if ObamaCare is fully implemented (with an estimated average penalty of $1,200). This directly contradicts Obama’s promise to not raise taxes on families making less than $250,000 per year — which includes the middle class.

At the same time, the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey reveals that the average American household’s real, inflation-adjusted income has dropped 5.7 percent during the Obama years. The median annual household income was $53,718 in June of 2009 (the last month of the recession). It has since fallen to $50,678 — $3,040 per household. It was even worse for black Americans, whose median household income fell 11.1 percent.

America also experienced newfound levels of debt as the U.S. budget deficit for the fiscal year ending on September 30 was over $1.2 trillion. Total American debt is now tops $16 trillion.

Additionally, the U.S. Department of Labor reports initial claims for in September unemployment benefits rose by 4,000 to a seasonally adjusted 367,000.

The Senate Budget Committee noted that, between April and June of 2012 (these months being the most current data available), only 200,000 jobs were created while 265,000 individuals joined the food stamp rolls. Simultaneously, 246,000 workers received disability payments. Between January of 2009 and June of 2012, the American economy lost a total of 1.3 million jobs while 5.7 million people got disability awards and a 15.1 million were added to the food stamp rolls.

Over at the Treasury Department, the Monthly Treasury Statement for September 2011 reported the federal government paid out just under $591.5 billion in benefits from the Old Age and Survivors Insurance Trust Fund during Fiscal Year 2011 (which ended on September 30, 2011). Through the end of August of 2012, the MTS indicated payments of over $594.6 billion from the same fund. That means the government doled more than $3.2 billion more in benefits than the previous year in just 11 months. It’s a record amount.

To make things worse, the Social Security Administration estimated there are over 56 million people in America receiving Social Security and disability benefits — another increase and another record.

Furthermore, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce, the second quarter gross domestic product growth rate was cut from an estimated 1.7 percent to an actual 1.3 percent.

There is one economic factor President Obama is celebrating. September’s jobs report shows unemployment fell below eight percent for the first time in 44 months. But there is concern it’s too early to cheer.

If true, it seems to have taken Obama almost an entire term to lower unemployment to where it was when he took office. It’s said that 114,000 jobs were added to the economy in September — lowering the unemployment rate from 8.1 percent to 7.8 percent. It also positively revised the amount of jobs created between July and September. Some experts suspect numbers may yet be revised again to paint a picture that’s not as good as initially reported. For example, the U-6 unemployment rate — the total rate that includes those discouraged and not looking for work — remained rock steady at 14.7 percent.

Bottom line: Joe Biden was right about the middle class buried under Obama.

After nearly four years, Americans have a right to wonder when Obama’s lofty promises of relief will be fruitful. Obama now claims to have a plan to cut debt by $4 trillion, but he also wants to raise a lot of taxes in the process. Such taxes could further cripple the middle class and small business owners.

Before America goes over a fiscal cliff, President Obama must comprehend the problem he’s liberally and foolishly contributed to and adjust the course of our nation accordingly.