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  • Morning Bell: Obama Economy Leaves Little Changed

    America is at a crossroads. Today’s jobs report shows that two years into recovery the U.S. economy is still woefully underperforming, adding only 120,000 new jobs in March, about half the rate of job growth of the previous three months which were, themselves, somewhat disappointing for this stage of recovery.

    Perhaps the most striking aspect of the jobs report is the extent to which the labor market was “little changed,” an impression the report returns to repeatedly. For example, the unemployment rate at 8.2 percent, still two full percentage points higher than the peak during the 2001 recession, was “little changed.” Other examples, with italics added:

    • The number of unemployed persons (12.7 million) was “little changed in March.”
    • “Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rate for adult men (7.6 percent), adult women (7.4 percent), teenagers (25.0 percent), whites (7.3 percent), blacks (14.0 percent), and Hispanics (10.3 percent) showed little or no change.”
    • “The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks and over) was essentially unchanged at 5.3 million in March.”
    • “The civilian labor force participation rate (63.8 percent) and the employment-population ratio (58.5 percent) were little changed in March.”
    • “In March, 2.4 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, essentially unchanged from a year earlier.”
    • “Among the marginally attached, there were 865,000 discouraged workers in March, about the same as a year earlier.”

    Thankfully, the economy continues to create jobs, yet growth can only be described at this stage as spotty, anemic, and disappointing. America’s economy should, instead, be booming. That confirms once again that President Obama’s economic policies not only have failed to spur recovery, but have almost certainly held recovery back by increasing regulatory costs, increasing uncertainty, ballooning the budget deficit, and constantly threatening higher taxes consistent with a political ideology antithetical to economic prosperity.

    So, what next? Where America and the American economy goes from here remains highly uncertain as Washington grapples with fundamental questions about which policies to pursue today and into the future. Fortunately, the upcoming national elections will focus all Americans’ attention on these difficult questions.

    Of course, President Barack Obama will try to paint a happy face on this disappointing report, arguing that all manner of headwinds are thwarting his plans for prosperity but that, nevertheless, he will vacuously assert the country is headed in the right direction. But take a step back and remember where the President promised we would be. Under his trillion-dollar stimulus, he said, unemployment would never rise above 8 percent. He was wrong. And not just in his economic policy.

    Energy policy? Under his Administration, gas prices have doubled. And under his watch, countless jobs are being left on the table thanks to his decision to say “no” to the Keystone XL pipeline while pursuing “green” energy programs that even Vice President Joe Biden’s former adviser says do not create long term jobs, despite costing billions of taxpayer dollars.

    Budget policy? President Obama talks a good game about budget deficits and debt, but now the contrast in competing visions for America’s fiscal future has been laid bare. On the one hand is House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) “Path to Prosperity Budget” which passed the House last week and includes proposals similar to those in Heritage’s Saving the American Dream plan. It’s a strong, positive effort that advances the serious and necessary conversation about securing America’s future, and it does so with market-based reforms to health entitlements, a tax plan that will help the economy grow, and spending cuts now and into the future.

    On the other hand is President Obama’s FY 2013 budget, which was unanimously rejected by the House. His plan delivers massive tax increases and a fourth consecutive annual deficit exceeding $1 trillion with spending that rises from $3.8 trillion to $5.8 trillion in 2022. That’s no way to plan for the future, especially as America faces a near $16 trillion debt and a budget crisis that will cripple Social Security and Medicare, while foisting an unbearable tax burden on future generations.

    Smarting from the failure of his plan to win not even a vote in the House, President Obama delivered a speech on Tuesday in which he painted the Ryan plan as a nefarious scheme of social Darwinism which would rob college students of financial aid, preschoolers of an education, seniors of their health care, and the middle class of a decent life.

    Knowing that his best weapon is to try to deflect attention from his own policy and leadership shortcomings through class warfare, the President turned to divisive rhetoric and scare tactics. And next in his repertoire was a series of warmed-over complaints about President George W. Bush’s policies, the failings of supply-side economics, and predictions that under Ryan’s plan, the poor will suffer while the rich prosper. Top that off with a call for taxes on those making over $250,000 as a form of economic “fairness,” and you have the blueprint for Obama’s vision of the future. Enter an endless era of big government, stage left.

    Today’s job growth once again raises serious questions why America’s economy is not doing, much, much better. Meager growth is not good enough, and the country’s fiscal realities are nothing future generations can bank on, especially with an unbalanced budget, a mounting tax burden, debt that’s too high, energy that costs too much, and a military that is stretched too thin.

    And so, America has a choice. Will it choose to accept its current path of mediocrity and ignore the fiscal crisis that it faces, or will it choose to confront its challenges head on and enact policies that will lead to a sounder, stronger future? Now is the time to decide.

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    Posted in Economics [slideshow_deploy]

    17 Responses to Morning Bell: Obama Economy Leaves Little Changed

    1. kverdeck says:

      GDP is growing, corporate profits are up, corporate cash stockpiles are unprecedented, and the Dow average is back to pre-crisis levels. There is a recovery going on–the question is, for whom? And why does it still seem to me and most Americans that there's not much of a recovery happening at all?

      The answer is simple. Contrary to what conservatives would like us to believe, the real economic engine of this nation–the REAL job creators–are the middle class, which represents 70% of all consumer demand. And the middle class has been under relentless assault for decades. We're still looking for the signs of a recovery as our real wages continue to shrink, our benefits continue to erode, our job security continues to keep us wary, and our single largest asset–our homes–continue to lose value. Meanwhile, the only concern of the GOP is to continue handing money to the wealthy, and removing regulations that protect workers and the environment, and either ignoring the middle class or slashing the programs that help them, and doing nothing at all to assuage the shredded housing market.

      Obama has done very little to help any of this either, which is why I'm no fan of his. But at least the things he proposes (and which get shot down by the GOP) don't promise to continue destroying the middle class, and removing more and more opportunity for people to work up to the middle class. Maybe one of these days the plutocrats running the show will realize that it's better to have a smaller piece of a pie that's growing than a larger slice of a shrinking one.

      • Bobbie says:

        I wish I would've read yours before I wrote mine! The real job creators are the ones looking to hire people which represents them all. What the middle class has lost is the cause of government and the costs of government.

        The GOP is allowing people the money they earn not handing them money from the tax treasury like democrats do to bribe for democratic support! Where the GOP purposes less taxing or es will be a trickle down effect. The GOP ISN'T removing any regulations or protections the company isn't already responsible in handling. The GOP is removing the ones that have no practical reason that infringe on the business. What's "the middle class" that programs help that the middle class can't do for themselves to remove government and it's costs? People don't have the freedom to buy houses when their money is tied up in unconstitutional government expenses!

        Every bit of what the unconstitutional government proposes to involve themselves helps destroy every class! Try to think without government there! All on your own and with other minds of their own!

      • Stirling says:

        Please stop the class warfare mantra, it really is counter-productive to solving the countries problems, and understanding why the GOP is actually standing up for the middle class, by stoping the socialist agenda push away from Americas roots. Punishing the job creators with higher taxes has never solved anything except giving them less to create jobs for you and me. The GOP wants more people creating their own pies (less taxes), rather then the idea of one pie devided bettween everyone. Your "real wages shrinking" is a byproduct of Big Government regulations strangling the cost of doing buisness yearly, not the GOP wanting less taxes which keeps more money in the hands of people who work for it.

      • guest says:

        The things he proposes gets shot down by the GOP? Do you mean like his two budgets that were unanimously shot down by all members Dems and Repubs? Come on dude, if you had half a brain you'd be dangerous.

      • ursine says:

        99% of "what's he proposing" translates into wealth redistribution, not job creation, not even a real help for the low-income or middle class on the long run. The most ambitious projects he pioneered ended up in magnificent shovel-ready-not-ready failure and total waste of money. I was never a fan of the previous administration, but this one sped up my shift from independent leaning left to independent leaning right… very much so.
        What I see is a slogan-spitting spout determined to push through the Keynesian economicsby any means necessary, a class warrior without any real substance. Two thirds of his top donors got the top government jobs, 80% of the top echelon of his campaign bundlers ended up in the White House or nearby…
        His record on economy is just as repugnant as his record on transparency. His disrespect to Constitution reveals what was apparent for many of us for a long time – there is a one-penny man inside the $1000 suite with the dream of transforming America into something that no free man can be proud of and no child of yours can be happy in.

    2. Bobbie says:

      unconstitutional government control is manufacturing the ends to force government means.

    3. Ray Alabama says:

      Let's see if I got this right? Everybody claims that there is 40%, or more, fraud and abuse in the Medicare system… right? OK that means roughly half of all the Physicians, providers, patients etc. got together and decided to commit fraud half the time… or half of them got together and are committing fraud all the time? How's that work? Medicare hired hatchet men to go out and find that fraud. With a promise to pay them handsomely for any fraud they find. All these people do though is beat up on the providers who are trying to do it right…. whatever that is! Medicare rules and policies are ambiguous at best. Folks now providing medical care, supplies and services as best they can, with the diminishing reimbursement already cut to the bone, are giving up in frustration… trying to deal with glorified clerks with no or at best minimal education, feeble medical knowledge and experience but have absolute control over their financial future. Yet Mr. Obama and his expert support team, who have been around for over 3 years now and know all the answers, constantly pick on the Medicare system as their whipping boy to reorganize and "Save those trillions of dollars that " Mr. Obama and his insider cronies have already stolen from the system". Simple answer, "give back the money youse guys already took"! $ 16 trillion gone so far? Wake up! It's more than $ 21 trillion… and counting!

    4. charles dulaney says:

      ryan's budget is better than most but isn't aggressive enough.unless base line budgeting is eliminated and whole departments are eliminated along with serious cut backs in all the agencies nothing will really change. government will expand,freedoms will be eroded, and financial breakdown will result. a reduction in the deficit can't wait for twenty more years.

    5. RennyG says:

      Morning Bell, doing a fine job, thank you. But I have a broader question. Through out the media industry,
      WHY IS THERE NEVER ANY POSITIVE, REALLY POSITIVE NEWS ANY MORE????? (that lasts more than 10 seconds)
      Do you know this negative news is causing the mindset of our nation and is going to result in our takeover by the big "O" and our ulimatet downfall as a nation! SO SAD! I am 75 and I see it happening.

    6. We have been brainwashed into believing that the government will bail us out of any trouble we get ourselves into. They will cushion our fall to the point that we will feel no pain when we hit the ground. If they tell us that they will sugar coat the castor oil we are going to have to take in the future many will respond that it will taste too bad for us to swallow and ask for an easier solution.

    7. KHM says:

      @kverdeck,It sounds as if you believe Obama's words about being concerned for the middle class. You might want a reality check. His policies and regulations penalize the middle class.
      Also to Heritage, I've posted before that you refer to the recovery. For a true recovery the Government needs to get out of the way as far as over-regulations. There needs to be great improvement in the housing sector. The stock market has risen to pre-crisis (2008) level mainly because of manipulation by day traders and more importantly by the PPT (Plunge Protection Team). Finally a real recovery would show a significant drop in the unemployment numbers. That may be a long way off before we see an actual recovery.

    8. Kenan Walker says:

      Yeah, and we are noe #1 in the world with the highest corporate tax rates. That will really make companies groe here in the USA won't it?

    9. Jim T says:

      Your assertions are convoluted and confused. You fail to account for the fact that in order for there to BE a "middle class", there has to be other "classes" to be "middle" to. Also, It's usully the case that those most fretting the fate of the "middle class" are NOT the "middle class". The secret to economic health for any economy is to develop & encourage its Commerce and Industry, not tax it out of existance or regulate it out of competitiveness. "Middle classes" arise from these and Agricultural enterprise as well.
      I suggest that you put down your copy of the communist manifesto & study instead the fundamentals of a true free market economy.

    10. "kverdeck-Meanwhile, the only concern of the GOP is to continue handing money to the wealthy, and removing regulations that protect workers and the environment, and either ignoring the middle class or slashing the programs that help them, and doing nothing at all to assuage the shredded housing market."

      Nonsense. You rail against the invisible. Jobs cannot be created until there is regulatory & tax relief/reform. Obamacare, Dodd Frank repealed, and the anal cranial inversion energy policy of the environmental extremists is gutted. These are the very things destroying the middle class.

    11. Kevin M. says:

      Your whole post tells the story of who you are. I have no doubt that your "non-support" for Obama is not because he is anti-freedom, but more likely because he isn't "left" enough for you.

      You identify yourself as a dependent of government. You are oviously a believer that government knows best (specifically liberals).

      Your reflecting the actions of your own liberal masters on the GOP and worse yet on conservatives is completely illogical. The restrictions on, and wealth confiscation against the middle class have all come from your side, not the conservatives that believe in and promote exactly the opposite.

      Nice try. Thanks for playing…

    12. ThomNJ says:

      One of the first things we could do is to get rid of the minimum wage requirement – when I look at statistics on how many teenagers have no jobs it is simply appalling. Part of it is due to our society that doesn't encourage teens to work – as if low paying jobs are beneath them – and the fact that the minimum wage restricts the number of jobs that are available by preventing small employers from hiring Summer kids, etc. Let's face it, kids don't even deliver newspapers anymore. How is the next generation ever going to learn about running a business without that early on experience of their own finances and their own business (as in growing their own newspaper route, for example)?

    13. JFB says:

      You foolish democrat / independents just have this thing with being the taker vs the maker debate. Your points are well thought out, but as always, you continue to lump the small business owner, taxed as an individual and barely making of go of it into the fat cat big business league. If you would stop and think for a minute how this administration is deliberately regulating out of existance this job producing engine at the gain for his big business cronies [Croney Capitialism], you will quickly see why you are missing the forest for the trees and suffer the delusions that premate your prose.

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