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Last Friday another dismal jobs reports was released. Non-farm payrolls rose by just 80,000 in June, coming in lower than even the more pessimistic “expert” prediction of 90,000. Unemployment stayed steady at 8.2 percent, a number that obscures the reality that many people who have given up looking for work are no longer counted. Yet president Obama remains remarkably sanguine. Speaking to a crowd in the battleground state of Ohio, he characterized the latest numbers as “a step in the right direction.” For those Americans determined to continue believing a president who plays it fast and loose with the facts, perhaps such “steps” are comforting. Yet the actual facts tell another story: president Obama has presided over the weakest recovery on record.
The stats are daunting. The unemployment rate has been above 8 percent for 41 consecutive months, yet as cited above, that number only reflects those people participating in the labor force. The labor force participation rate was 63.8 percent last month, one of the lowest percentages on record. If not for that convenient anomaly, unemployment would be 11 percent. Chronic unemployment, which reflects the length of time people remain out of work, rose to 39.9 weeks in June. That number is sixteen weeks higher than the number in June 2009, when the recession “officially” ended. And despite the president’s assertion that “businesses have created 4.4 million new jobs over the past 28 months, including 500,000 new manufacturing jobs,” the nation has endured a net decline of roughly half a million jobs during the president’s tenure in office.
Yet jobs tell only part of the story. 2011 was the worst sales year ever recorded for housing, and home values remain nearly 35 percent lower than they were five years ago. The decline in Americans’ standard of living is the steepest since government began keeping records 50 ago, and family income has declined more post-recession than it did in the actual recession itself. In addition, record numbers of Americans are living on food stamps and a record number are living in poverty. Thus it is no surprise that overall government dependency, defined as the percentage of persons receiving one or more federal benefit payments, is the highest in American history.
Economist Michael Boskin reveals a list of other dubious, post-WW II records set by this administration. They include federal spending as a percentage of GDP at 25 percent, federal debt as a percentage of GDP at 67 percent, and a budget deficit as a percentage of GDP at 10 percent. President Obama has also amassed more debt ($5 trillion since January 2009) faster than any president in the history of the nation, including the submission of four budgets with trillion dollar plus deficits. This marks the first time any president has submitted even a single budget above the trillion dollar mark. Add a first quarter economic growth rate revised downward to from 2.2 to 1.9 percent, a manufacturing decline for the first time in three years, and unemployment rates of 14.4 percent for black Americans, 11 percent for Hispanics and 23.7 percent for 16- to 19-year-olds, and it’s no surprise that Obama presided over another dubious milestone: for the first time ever, America’s credit rating was downgraded.
Context must be added to these numbers. For example, they have been calculated before the $1.76 trillion, 10-year cost of the Supreme Court-sanctioned Affordable Heath Care Act is added to the the national debt, and after the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was passed. That measure was supposed to keep unemployment below 8 percent, according to a report released by the administration.
Moreover, the former number represents the first of what is likely to be a series of revisions regarding the true cost of Obamacare. For perspective’s sake it should be noted that in 1967, the House Ways and Means Committee estimated that Medicare would cost $12 billion in 1990. The actual cost? $98 billion. Thus, even if the cost projections of Obamacare are only off by a small percentage of that miscalculation, Americans could be looking at hundreds of billions of dollars in additional–and unaffordable–outlays added to the national debt. As for the latter number, we now know that nearly a trillion dollars in Keynesian-inspired, prime-the-pump “stimulus” was an abject failure, highlighted by the president’s own admission a year later that “shovel-ready projects” didn’t exist.
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