|World to Obama: No, You Just Don’t Get It|
By Timothy H. Lee
Thursday, July 08 2010
So the nationwide – nay, suddenly worldwide – debate continues: Is President Obama being dishonest, or does he really just not get it?
Regrettably, that particular question carries an additional element of irony this week. In his weekly radio address last Saturday, Obama leveled the curious accusation that opponents of his latest economic brainstorms “just don’t get it”:
“Still, at a time when millions of Americans feel a deep sense of urgency in their own lives, Republican leaders in Washington just don’t get it. While a majority of Senators support taking these steps to help the American people, some are playing the same old Washington games and using their power to hold this relief hostage – a move that only ends up holding back our recovery.”
The “these steps” to which Obama referred above were (a) yet another heaping helping of “stimulus,” even as his previous $1 trillion installment proves itself a deficit-inflating failure, and (b) an unemployment benefit extension beyond its current 99-week duration.
For all of the remaining Obama supporters out there, 99 weeks is almost two full calendar years.
Of course, Obama accurately notes that Americans feel an increasing sense of urgency. For whatever reason, however, he seems remarkably impervious to the reality that his own “stimulus” policies constitute the cause of that increasing urgency.
Consider these facts. Few people are aware that the American economy actually lost more jobs during the first seven quarters following the 2001 recession than in the first seven quarters following the latest recession. Three million more, in fact. So why has the current unemployment rate hovered at approximately 10% for several months, whereas the unemployment rate following the 2001 recession peaked at 6.3%?
The disturbing answer is simple: we aren’t creating new jobs in sufficient numbers to offset the losses. Layoffs have declined to pre-recession levels, but new job creation festers well below pre-recession levels. The American economy shed 3 million more jobs following the 2001 recession than the current recession, but it simultaneously created almost 9 million more new jobs compared to the current downturn.
This fact seems surprising, but it shouldn’t.
After all, the Obama Administration has eroded the private sector’s incentive to create new jobs. He has inundated our economy with stifling regulation after stifling regulation, from ObamaCare to environmental mandates to new union gratuities demanded by impatient Big Labor leaders. Additionally, his menacing onslaught of new taxes and federal spending are simply subverting the forward-looking certainty that private businesses need before committing to expansion and new hiring.
How can anyone realistically expect businesses to hire new workers when they can’t know what new pitfalls Obama, Pelosi and Reid have waiting around the corner?
Consider also that Obama’s White House promised in January 2009 that his “stimulus” would reduce unemployment to 7.3% by now, after peaking at 8% in the third quarter of 2009. Instead, unemployment reached 10.1% in October 2009, and remains at a miserable 9.5% today. Or consider Obama’s insistence upon an unjustified offshore drilling ban in the Gulf, which has directly and indirectly jeopardized countless jobs in that already-suffering region. A federal court overturned Obama’s moratorium, but his administration for some reason persists.
Following the deep 1981-82 recession, Ronald Reagan’s pro-growth policies brought us approximately 8% gross domestic product (GDP) growth throughout the four quarters of 1983. In contrast, the past three quarters have witnessed tepid growth of 2.2%, 5.1% and back down to a sputtering 2.7%. Our cyclical recovery should be much more vigorous by now.
Yet Obama has the audacity to claim that Republicans who oppose his failing agenda “don’t get it?”
It’s not just Republicans here in the United States who are opposing him, however. At the most recent G-20 summit in Toronto, Obama implored other industrialized nations’ leaders to accelerate their deficit spending spree with even more “stimulus.”
Recognizing that three long years of fiscally imprudent “stimulus” has only exacerbated their debt crises with no substantial economic benefit, foreign leaders offered Obama something that surely offended his fragile inflated ego: international rejection. Leaders spanning such diverse nations as Germany, the U.K., Canada, Japan and even Russia collectively rebuffed Obama’s irresponsible demand, instead emphasizing the need for spending discipline following the Greek collapse.
Foreign heads of state and Republican leaders here in the U.S. share very little in common. If Obama gave this a moment’s reflection, though, their universal rejection of his failing economic agenda would make it clear to him precisely who in this debate “just doesn’t get it.”
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