Recovery Summer IV Results

Economy: After his embarrassing failure on the foreign policy front, President Obama decided to tout his success managing the U.S. economy — just as the historically weak recovery shows fresh signs of weakening further.

In a speech marking the fifth anniversary of the Lehman Bros. collapse, Obama ticked off a laundry list of alleged accomplishments since taking office: I stopped another Great Depression, saved the auto industry, put people to work, etc.

“We cleared away the rubble from the financial crisis,” he said, “and we’ve begun to lay a new foundation for economic growth and prosperity.”

Unfortunately, it’s a foundation built on quicksand.

Just last week we learned that retail sales have softened, consumer sentiment hit a five-month low, job growth in August was still tepid and the number of job losers posted its biggest jump since 2010.

All are signs the economy isn’t going to live up to expectations in the final months of the year.

This comes after 50 months of sluggish growth that has left 4.3 million out of work long-term, helped drive 10 million out of the job market, pushed the labor participation rate to 35-year lows, boosted food stamp rolls by 14 million and pushed nearly 3 million into poverty.

Just 13 states have employment rates above their pre-recession peaks (all but four of them, by the way, voted against Obama in 2008).

Thanks to Obama’s sluggish growth, real median household income remains 4.4% below where it was when his “recovery” started.

The day Obama gave his remarks, the AP reported that the unemployment rate among low-income families is at Great Depression levels of 21%, but among upper-income households it’s 3.2%. That, AP’s analysis found, is the widest gap on record.

AP also found that middle-income workers are increasingly ending up with lower-wage jobs, forcing lower-skilled workers out of the job market.

Meanwhile, a survey out of the University of Chicago finds that a record 8.4% of Americans consider themselves “lower class.”

Here’s another way to look at it: Had Obama’s recovery merely been average, there would be 7.4 million more people gainfully employed today, and the economy would be $1.3 trillion bigger.

Even the left is noticing that, despite Obama’s endless blather about building prosperity from the ground up, his recovery has had the opposite effect — concentrating whatever gains there have been at the top.

The Huffington Post called it “the most uneven recovery in at least several decades” — which would include the Reagan, Clinton and Bush recoveries.

Among the evidence presented: Workers in the bottom 20% have seen their real average hourly wages decline steadily under Obama, compared with gains at the very top. And while 60% of the jobs lost in the recession paid mid-wages, only 22% of the jobs gained in Obama’s recovery did so.

Incredibly, amid all this, Obama claims to see “progress across the board.”  Then again, Obama thinks his foreign policy adventures have been a success, too. (IBD)

“Are some of these folks really so beholden to one extreme wing of their party that they’re willing to tank the entire economy just because they can’t get their way on this issue?” Obama said in a speech at the White House. “Are they really willing to hurt people just to score political points?” (Townhall)

WELL, we know HE IS. He’s been doing it for 5 years now! 🙂

Obama conceded the problems. “As any middle class family will tell you or anybody who’s striving to get in the middle class, we are not yet where we need to be,” he said.

And never will be, with Progressives in charge because they depend on making people poor and dependent on them and making rich people less rich and demonic to keep them them there.

“After all the progress that we’ve made over these last four and a half years, the idea of reversing that progress because of an unwillingness to compromise or because of some ideological agenda is the height of irresponsibility,” Obama said.

Which is why he won’t compromise on anything that has been done or will be done. But he’s not ideologically rigid… 🙂

After all, it’s “Congress” (Read: Republicans) Fault!

He’s not partisan. 🙂

Political Cartoons by Gary Varvel

Political Cartoons by Steve Kelley

Political Cartoons by Michael Ramirez

 

 

Doleling Out the Jobs

Michael Ramirez Cartoon

The Democrats are spinning away that adding 80,000 Jobs last much is “going in the right direction”. And we’ve “created private sector job growth” every month, yada yada…Just at a snails pace. And the snails are winning.

And that’s Congress’s fault. 🙂

Not the over regulation and overtaxing and a Democrat Senate that hasn’t passed it’s own budget in 3 1/2 years and refusing to even debate anything the “obstructionist” Republicans pass.

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) projects 1,781,000 students at the bachelor’s degree level will graduate as the college Class of 2012.

Joblessness among new entrants to the workforce is 300,000 higher than three years ago.

And That’s on top of the Millions still out of work, some for years at a time.

Unemployment topped 8% for the 41st month in a row.

And even though the current unemployment rate of 8.2% is officially below the level three years ago, that’s because millions have given up looking for work and so aren’t counted as unemployed. If you adjust for that change, today’s unemployment rate would be 10.9%.

This is already the longest jobs recession since the Great Depression at 53 months. Payrolls aren’t on track to reach the old highs until June 2015, assuming the sluggish economic expansion lasts that long. (IBD)

So does it sound like a celebration to you?

Only if you a liberal. Only if you’re trying desperately to sell sand to man dying of thirst in a desert.

But that’s Bush’s Fault too. 🙂

To explain away the ongoing jobs debacle, <Chief Economic Advisor Alan> Krueger claims “there are no quick fixes to the problems we face that were more than a decade in the making.” Translation: Cut your griping and be thankful Obama has been able to do so well, given the terrible hand he was dealt.

It’s all Bush’s Fault! 🙂

According to American Enterprise Institute researcher (and former IBD staffer) James Pethokoukis, it will take 219,000 net new jobs each month to bring the unemployment rate below 8% by Nov. 6’s Election Day. 

VP Joe Biden: Romney, he said, believes “somehow that those so-called job creators will make everything OK for the rest of us.”

And that’s a bad thing. After all, Romney to the left is a mustache twirling Monopoly board/cartoon Millionaire villain tying grandma to the railroad tracks as the steam train is bearing down her!

Government central planning and doling out of union jobs and more government sector union jobs is the way to go! Federal jobs (ex post office) are up 10.7%.

Establishments less than a year old, including those belonging to the same firm, totaled 556,553 in 2010, according to the latest Commerce Department data. That’s down 26% from the peak of 747,278 in 2006. Meanwhile, the number of employees at startups has plunged, with a greater share of new firms with no employees — one-man shops. Very small startups are less likely to invest or to grow, a bad sign for future hiring. (IBD)

New York Times: It is increasingly apparent what the economy will look like when President Obama faces voters in November: pretty much what it looks like today.

So that’s the “right direction” and everything is “fine”. 🙂

Then There’s:

More workers joined the federal government’s disability program in June than got new jobs, according to two new government reports, a clear indicator of how bleak the nation’s jobs picture is after three full years of economic recovery.

The economy created just 80,000 jobs in June, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday. But that same month, 85,000 workers left the workforce entirely to enroll in the Social Security Disability Insurance program, according to the Social Security Administration.

The disability ranks have outpaced job growth throughout President Obama’s recovery. While the economy has created 2.6 million jobs since June 2009, fully 3.1 million workers signed up for disability benefits.

In other words, the number of new disability enrollees has climbed 19% faster than the number of jobs created during the sluggish recovery. (Even after accounting for people who left the disability program because they died or aged into retirement, disability ranks have climbed more than 1.1 million in the past three years.)

And the disability ranks will continue to swell. In just the last month, almost 275,000 put in applications for disability benefits. Experts say that more people try to get on disability when jobs are scarce, and changes to eligibility rules enacted back in 1984 have made it far easier to qualify.

In addition, while hiring has been very weak during the recovery, the number of people who have dropped out of the labor force entirely has exploded by 7.3 million since June 2009, an IBD analysis of BLS data show. Some aged into retirement, but most either signed up for disability, stayed in school, moved back in with parents, or just quit looking for a job.

As a result, the “labor force participation rate” — the number of people who have jobs or are actively looking for one compared with the entire working-age population — is now 63.8%, down from 65.7% in June 2009. This participation rate is at the lowest levels in 30 years. In previous recoveries, the participation rate has almost always risen, not fallen.

Other indicators show that the three-year-old economic recovery isn’t producing jobs in adequate numbers:

The unemployment rate has been above 8% for 41 consecutive months. In the previous 60 years, the jobless topped 8% in a total of only 39 months.

The number of people with jobs is still nearly 5 million below its pre-recession peak.

The number of long-term unemployed — those out of work 27 weeks or more — is still 5.4 million — almost 1 million higher than when the recovery began, and almost twice the level it ever reached prior to Obama’s recovery.

The median length of unemployment is 19.8 weeks. Throughout Obama’s recovery, it has averaged 20.6 weeks. Prior to Obama, that number had had never exceeded 10.5 weeks.

So, say it with me because you can here screaming in your LEFT ear, “But that’s Bush’s Fault!” , he left us a ‘mess’ ad nauseum.

The poor recovery has also driven people to sign up for food stamps in record numbers. From June 2009 to April 2012, food stamp enrollment surged 11.3 million, or 32%, according to the Department of Agriculture.

In addition, the soft jobs market has driven median household incomes down more after the recession ended than during the recession itself, according to Sentier Research, which tracks monthly household income.

After adjusting for inflation, median annual household income tumbled 5.3% from June 2009 to May 2012. In contrast, median incomes dropped 2.6% during the 18-month recession, Sentier found.

“The recession was bad enough,” said Sentier’s Gordon Green, “but what’s extraordinary is the even larger decline during this so-called economic recovery.”

It shows, Green said, “how much ground we have to make up just to get back to where we were.” (IBD)

But the Private sector is “doing fine”.

More people on the government dole, less people working a whole new crop of unemployed college grads…

Now that’s “moving in the right direction” Mr. President!

NOVEMBER IS COMING!

Political Cartoons by Henry Payne

Political Cartoons by Glenn Foden

Insanity

Political Cartoon by Michael Ramirez

The definition of insanity is doing the same things the same way over and over again, expecting a different outcome.

From BarackObama.com (2009):

  • Get the economy back on track:

    President Obama signed legislation to jumpstart our economy, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, less than a month after his inauguration. The plan will save or create 3.5 million new jobs, make critical investments in our infrastructure and give 95 percent of working Americans a tax cut.

Barack Sept 2010:

WASHINGTON (AP) – Vowing to find new ways to stimulate the sputtering economy, President Barack Obama will call for long-term investments in the nation’s roads, railways and runways that would cost at least $50 billion.

The infrastructure investments are one part of a package of targeted proposals the White House is expected to announce in hopes of jump-starting the economy ahead of the November election. Obama will outline the infrastructure proposal Monday at a Labor Day event in Milwaukee.

While the proposal calls for investments over six years, the White House said spending would be front-loaded with an initial $50 billion to help create jobs in the near future.

The goals of the infrastructure plan include: rebuilding 150,000 miles of roads; constructing and maintaining 4,000 miles of railways, enough to go coast-to-coast; and rehabilitating or reconstructing 150 miles of airport runways, while also installing a new air navigation system designed to reduce travel times and delays.

Obama will also call for the creation of a permanent infrastructure bank that would focus on funding national and regional infrastructure projects.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t this new “stimulus” that can’t be called “stimulus” sound amazingly similar to the one that has already failed miserably?

Officials said this infrastructure package differs from the stimulus because it’s aimed at long-term growth, while still focusing on creating jobs in the short-term.

Wary of the public’s concern over rising deficits, the administration insists a second stimulus plan, similar to last year’s $814 billion bill, is not in the works.

It just sounds like it. 🙂

But if we change the name in a very Orwellian fashion this failed duck is not a duck so this stimulus is not a stimulus. 🙂

And a permanent Bank of The United States to boot. A new cash cow. After all, who could be against an “infrastructure” bank?

Me. 🙂

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LET THEM EAT CREDIT!

It’s interesting why behavior that we readily recognize, on an individual level, as undesirable, we routinely promote and accept as government and social policy.

What rational person would suggest that being detached from reality is a good thing?

Or what rational person does not want good information when making important decisions?

But increasingly we live in an environment, created by government driven policies, in which the picture of reality we have is false, and the information available to us for making routine decisions is distorted.

University of Chicago economist Raghuram Rajan demonstrates this problem in what he calls “let them eat credit.”

According to Rajan, we have a big problem at the lower end of our income spectrum. Low end incomes not only are languishing, but adjusted for inflation, are dropping. From 2002 to 2008, real wages for the top ten percent of earners increased, but for everyone else they dropped.

What to do?

Rajan points out that the real culprit is education. As the economy gets increasingly sophisticated, the penalty for lack of education gets greater. But we’re failing to deliver this needed education to lower income Americans.

Core to the problem, Rajan argues, is that politicians are more interested in being popular than solving problems. They’d rather offer free money in the form of subsidies and easy credit to low wage earners than take on real problems.

Programs like subsidized mortgages, which contributed much to the housing bubble, make life look artificially cheap and reduce the sense of immediacy regarding the need to get educated.

The rate of U.S. home ownership increased from 1995 to 2005 from 65% to 69%. Over the same period of time home prices doubled, before everything fell apart.

As reported by Peter Wallison of the American Enterprise Institute, in 1992 government backed lending enterprises, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, were directed to “promote affordable housing” and to do this by enabling down payments of less than 5% and approving credit for borrowers with shaky credit history.

Through the 1990s and 2000s HUD continued to push Fannie and Freddie to relax standards, requiring them, according to Wallison, “to buy increasing numbers of subprime and other risky mortgages.”

The faulty assumption behind all this, which we’ve learned the hard way, is that politicians think they can use taxpayers and the money printing press as a bottomless pit of funds to promote government schemes.

Many low income families, bought homes they couldn’t afford. Not just because of lying mortgage brokers, but because the whole artificial reality that distorted prices and credit was created by government policy. (Now the Government owns 80% of Fannie & Freddie and around 70-80% of all mortgages are written under Fannie and Freddie  so has anything been learned or are we just insane?)

It’s hard to find a place to turn where we don’t deal with a reality distorted by government.

We’re all concerned about runaway costs of health care and health insurance. What’s behind it?

In 1960, 50% of our health expenditures were out of pocket and 50% were OPM (Other People’s Money – Insurance, Employers, Government).

Today, 12% of our health care expenditures are out of pocket and 88% are Other People’s Money.

So what was the solution: National Health Care! Health Care run by the Government! 😦

According to Harvard economist Robert Barro, the current persistent high unemployment rate, helping drag out this recession, is traceable to the unprecedented extension of unemployment benefits from the normal 26 weeks to almost two years. The argument that we are currently in unchartered territory and must do the unusual is not true.

Barro points out that unemployment in the 1982 recession reached 10.8% – higher than today.

The perhaps not so funny joke that neurotics build castles in the air and psychotics move into them is worth thinking about.

The ability to succeed is predicated on both freedom and having good information on which to make decisions.

As we distort, through government policies, reality around us, and citizens increasingly get bad information for matters about which they have important decisions to make, we’re not going to recover. (Star Parker)

Political Cartoon by Eric Allie

I think one could argue, successfully, that Government, especially this one, is not interested in recovery- not really.

Because recovery means less people dependent on them.

Sure they want to appear to give a crap because appearing not to or looking like you’re failing is also not desired.

So you have to look and sound like you’re succeeding and give every that false sense of reality that works for you.

Reality is an overrated and under-appreciated, well, reality. 🙂

One Question: Hows that “War on Poverty” that was started over 40 years ago going exactly? Won yet? 🙂

Deja Vu All Over Again

This time last year President Obama held his first news conference about Health Care reform.

Saying he wanted it done quickly so he could go back to jobs.

He had passed the Stimulus with the veiled threat that if it didn’t happen the universe was going to collapse.

And Utopia would reign if we did.

It’s now a year later.

Unemployment is 9.7%. (Government workers 3% hmm…)

The Underemployed and the “discouraged” (people who have given up completely) has tripled.

The more likely unemployment rate is somewhere near 16.7%

And He did promised to focus “like a laser beam” on jobs.

They  spent a few days on it, passed a puny $15 billion dollar Son of Stimulus and have plans for even more of the same.

Then he went right back to the drum beat of Health Care Reform.

Some “laser beam”.

The only obsession is Health Care.

Not Jobs.

And they are related.

As I have said before, if I were an employer I’d be worried about hiring right now considering all the taxes Obama wants to hit you with from health Care to Cap & Trade to Income tax hikes, et al.

Why bother.

So a year later where is “Hope and Change”?

In the toilet.

People have less hope now than a year ago.

And as for change, only for the worse.

And Harry Reid gleefully pronouncing how it excited him that 36,000 people lost their jobs in February was less than expected just shows how they don’t really even understand reality to begin with.

And Health care has ANOTHER deadline by the President.

But this one is to prevent the Congress from going on April recess and having be blasted by The People, much like last August.

Heaven forbid they’ll actually hear the People.

Now that would be “Change you could believe in”.

But that’s a fantasy.

They are engaged in Democrat trench warfare. They just want to win at any cost.

No matter what.

They view failure as worst than success.

I heard on analyst yesterday say, “well he could have just said I tried, the republicans refused to go along, so be it on their heads let’s talk about jobs.”

And then actually do that.

That leaves the onus on someone else and then gets done what people have been screaming at them for over a year about.

But no, they are too obsessed with their Holy Grail to give up the quest now.

The war has gone for so long and they are so close they can’t see anything else.

The walls have closed in around them and all they see is the light at the end of the tunnel.

Personally, I hope it’s a train!

But the Republicans will have to remember, it’s not about how great they are ( in comparison).

The whole of Washington and it’s “process” ‘s is what is the really problem.

And Washington as a whole would be smart to recognize that, or the Republican could win big in November and then squander it by the usual Washington Gridlock.

So this minefield has red and blue mines laid out.

And the Nuclear Mine is a shiny red button that the American people have told Congress not to touch.

But like a little kid told not to do something they are obsessed with doing just that.

They can’t help themselves.

It means too much to THEM.

They must do it!

(WP):  President Obama’s proposed budget would add more than $9.7 trillion to the national debt over the next decade, congressional budget analysts said Friday. Proposed tax cuts for the middle class account for nearly a third of that shortfall.

The 10-year outlook released by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office is somewhat gloomier than White House projections, which found that Obama’s budget request would produce deficits that would add about $8.5 trillion to the national debt by 2020.

The CBO and the White House are in relative agreement about the short-term budget picture, with both predicting a deficit of about $1.5 trillion this year — a post-World War II record at 10.3 percent of the overall economy — and $1.3 trillion in 2011. But the CBO is considerably less optimistic about future years, predicting that deficits would never fall below 4 percent of the economy under Obama’s policies and would begin to grow rapidly after 2015.

Yahoo News: CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Regulators on Friday shuttered banks in Florida, Illinois, Maryland and Utah, boosting to 26 the number of bank failures in the U.S. so far this year following the 140 brought down in 2009 by mounting loan defaults and the recession.

So it’s been a year.

How’s that “hope and Change” working for you?

Feeling a sense of Deju Vu?

I know I am.

So let’s end of comedy note: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LO2eh6f5Go0