As the president began the first year of his second term, the U.S. poverty rate rose to a level not seen since the 1960s. What we have here is a colossal failure of government policy.
The Census Bureau says that 50 million Americans, roughly one in six — almost 17% — are living below the poverty line, which is defined as earnings of less than $23,021 a year for a family of four. Apparently 20% of the nation’s children are living in poverty.
Of course this is what we’d expect, given that the mainstream press is so busy praising Obama that it misses — probably willfully — the disastrous economy over which he’s presided.
The 50 million Americans living below the poverty line aren’t lone markers of Obama’s failure.
Since the economy began its tentative recovery just a few months into his first term, the unemployment rate has been nothing but ugly. It sits now at 7.7%, down from its peak of 10% in October 2009.
While that might seem an improvement, it’s not.
As we noted a month ago, “just 58.6% of Americans work today, down from 60.6% when Obama took office.” If the labor force participation rate were the same as it was when Obama was inaugurated, the unemployment rate would be higher than 12%.
Another sorry marker is annual GDP growth.
Obama’s average has been less than 2% per quarter, annualized. In the last quarter of 2012, it was an almost invisible 0.4%.
For all of 2011, GDP growth was 1.8%, in 2012 it was 2.2%, well below the 2.5% to 3% pace that most economists believe is the norm. And, by the way, the White House had forecast 4% growth in each of these years.
Again, bear in mind that the recession lifted in June 2009, before Obama’s policies could have had a positive impact on the economy. The economic stagnation and our jobless recovery have occurred after the implementation of his policies — the nearly $1 trillion stimulus, tax hikes, ObamaCare, hyper-regulation — and during the heat of his class-division rhetoric that has obsessed on government-enforced fairness.
And don’t forget, appropriate to the news about growing poverty, that a congressman once congratulated Michelle Obama for her husband’s stimulus bill, calling it “the best anti-poverty bill in a generation.”
Maybe that lawmaker should revise and extend that remark, as congressmen do when they’ve made outrageous statements on the record.
Under Obama, the poverty rate grew from 14.3% in 2009 to 15.1% in 2010, then fell to 15% in 2011 before jumping to today’s sorry rate. A man who has promoted himself as a defender of the poor and middle class should have a better record. But as long as he refuses to give up on failed left-wing policies, he never will.
Krugman was quick to point out that the state has its problems, but “these problems bear no resemblance to the death-by-liberalism story line the California-bashers keep peddling.”