First Posted August 28, 2011 as:
“Obama’s Legacy: A Failed Recovery & Double-Dip Recession”
I wrote the material that follows a year ago. I missed the mark, since the continued Payroll Tax Holidays, the Fed’s policies and the strength in the equity markets (or weakness in the Eurozone) has allowed the USA to avoid the technical double-dip recession. Instead we have an election year where growth will average around 2%, and the economy has struggled to create enough net new jobs to simply keep up with workforce growth.
Virtually every measurable indicator of the economy screams “failure,” and yet, Barack Obama travels across the USA campaigning on the “progress” he imagines—that few Americans can feel or enjoy.
I am posting what I wrote year ago, to give the critics another chance to nitpick my economics and totally ignore reality. America is in trouble–financially, socially, internationally, and politically. While Congress gets a share of the blame, it is the foremost principle of leadership that the leader, during a crisis, pulls together the factions and finds solutions, and then implements them. Unless the leader is out of ideas, because few of the old ones have worked—or unless he is clueless–and was unqualified for the job he holds in the first place.
It will be up to the American people to decide this latter point, in just eleven weeks. May God bless America and help the American people make the right choices in the ballot box.
Here is the prior post, in its entirety:
There will be no significant recovery in the United States of America while Barack Obama is President. The evidence is overwhelming: everything Obama has tried to fuel a recovery (with his Democratic allies in Congress) has failed. Statistics claiming jobs saved by the stimulus package were mostly fiction, and cost American taxpayers about $275,000 each. Nearly 2-1/2 million fewer Americans have jobs than before the stimulus.
Barack Obama has been President for 30 months—2-1/2 years. He spent the first year obsessed with passing Obamacare, a program that doesn’t create jobs, but might destroy a lot of them. He “bailed out” GM, but many believe that his interference didn’t save GM; it merely cost taxpayers an extra $15-20 billion, and stole from legitimate investors to buy off the UAW. His broken campaign promises are too numerous to list. At some point, his statute of limitations on blaming Bush runs out. The latest joke is that the White House is that named the location of East Coast earthquake near DC “Bush’s Fault.”
Obama himself said, “…that after three years, if the economy wasn’t fixed he should be a one-term president.”
Clearly the economic malaise started on George W. Bush’s watch. Its causes will be argued for decades, but most of them are traceable to irresponsible lending and excessive spending— both by government and the American people. The trouble that started before 2008 is directly traceable to actions (or inactions) of Bush and GOP allies in Congress. They spent America into the start of the current deficit during his eight years in the White House.
But that was then, and this is now. Since Obama took office the situation has gotten much, much worse. Obama has run up the deficit at more than twice the rate Bush did. During the first quarter of 2011, the US economy “barely grew” —at 0.4%—that was followed by second quarter’s “anemic growth” of 1%. This was during the period when the Obama recovery was supposed to be well underway. Employment data is unremittingly terrible: new jobless claims are stuck at 400,000+/- each month, with job creation well below what it takes just to absorb new workforce entrants. More Americans have been unemployed longer than ever in our history. And looking ahead, the news is not good.
This is Obama’s failed American recovery, and in the near future, Obama’s impending double-dip recession (thanks in no small part to his three consecutive years with Trillion-dollar in deficits that have inflated the national deficit to soaring heights—$14+ Trillion.) That legacy clearly belongs to President Barack Obama and with help from the Congress led by Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi during 2008-2010. Thanks to them, our country hasn’t even had a budget since Obama took office. The latest Obama Blame Finger pointing focuses on the “Tea Party” as “extremists” who have a problem with astronomical deficits as far as the eye can see. (Pointing at Bush is getting a little old since he’s been out of office for 2-1/2 years). Obama needs a new scapegoat. The problem with the Tea Party is that it is like the child in the fairy tale, “The Emperors New Clothes.” The child is reviled for pointing out that the emperor is naked. Thus, the Tea Party is not wrong, just unwelcome.
Now Obama also wants to point the Blame Finger at the GOP House for the downgrade in the US debt rating by Standard and Poor’s. It seems that he believes that everyone else is to blame but him. That downgrade was predestined by the combination of irresponsible spending and Obama’s clueless attempts to throw money at a recovery to no avail. Spending $1.50 for every dollar of revenue, running trillion dollar annual deficits is reason enough for a downgrade in the US debt rating.
Face it folks: This is Obama’s failed recovery. And if (or when) it comes to pass, this “double-dip” recession (just around the corner) is his too.
Make no mistake, there IS plenty of blame to go around. About 75% of Americans are fed up with both Obama and Congress. The conservative and liberal factions of the House and Senate behaved badly in the recent debt ceiling negotiation. President Obama wanted to stay above the fray so he provided no leadership. He didn’t even know how to bring the opposing viewpoints together. He talked about bi-partisanship and consensus, but his actions disproved his words.
Until the president saw an impending disaster, he sat on the sidelines, afraid to do anything that might hinder his reelection campaign. Then, when his intervention didn’t help, and arguably hurt the progress, he grew impatient, petulant and angry.
John Boehner, however, did an admirable job trying to build a compromise deal on the debt ceiling, and get his own Caucus to support such a plan. Except, Obama was attacked by his liberal base for even considering the “grand bargain,” so he came in and dumped another “raise taxes more” demand on Boehner. I’d have walked out too, which Boehner was right to do.
But at least they were arguing about the right thing: how much to cut spending and how.
The Tea Party’s desire for fiscal responsibility is right, but it doesn’t mean that tax revenue can’t be increased. It can; how it’s done is what matters. The tax code desperately needs to be restructured. Simply digging in on old positions doesn’t help; it hurts. The goal is to “get the country working again,” and grow our way out of this mess.
The one phrase of President Obama’s that I agree with is “Country First.” But John Boehner was the one who tried his best to put “Country First.” If Obama truly chooses that as his 2012 campaign slogan, it will reek of hypocrisy.
If the members of Congress would put 1) country first, 2) constituents wishes next, and 3) personal agendas last, they might be able to work together to find a way out of this mess.
What happens in the Super-Committee of Twelve will be both revealing and predictive. Either America’s Congressional leaders will—or won’t—put “country first” and try to find common ground and reasonable compromises to lead America out of this mess.
Whatever happens, this failed recovery and impending recession belong to President Barack Obama. His condescending explanations of why “we Americans” don’t get it, how “this will take a long time,” this recovery, and his “class warfare” about “millionaires and billionaires” versus the “common folk” are all wearing thin. This kind of rhetoric won’t solve America’s problems. It takes strong, informed, and experienced leadership to get through a mess like this one. We need a fixer, not a hypocritical speechmaker in the White House. Barack Obama is not that man. A wise man once told me, “The person who got you into a problem is seldom the one who will get you out of it.” That’s why there will be no recovery on Obama’s watch, but there could be a double-dip recession.