Spinning the Obama-conomy

The dire economic facts the president and his allies are trying desperately to conceal.

The Obama spin machine is in overdrive trying to fool the American people about President Obama's dismal record in office. His campaign has a website called AttackWatch devoted to fighting back against what the Obama spin machine claims are "false attacks on the President."

First, the Obama spin machine is trying to convince the American people that the economy has substantially improved under Obama's watch, evidenced by the lower January unemployment rate of 8.3%. We're all happy that the unemployment rate appears to be going down (although it is still higher than when Obama took office). However, there are questions as to how the 8.3% rate was calculated. Nearly three million people are not being counted as part of the labor force in the Bureau of Labor Statistics calculation of the unemployment rate. They are arbitrarily excluded from the base labor pool as if they did not exist.

Here is the kind of caveat that you find when you read the fine print of the Bureau of Labor Statistics report for January 2012:

In January, 2.8 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, essentially unchanged from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey (emphasis added).

The more meaningful underemployed rate for January 2012 (which includes people not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them and total employed part time for economic reasons) is 15.1%.

Also, the 243,000 jobs that were reportedly created in the month of January may reflect some computer model expectation-adjusted numbers because fewer seasonal jobs were lost than had been expected. The difference between the loss of seasonal jobs that were expected and the lower number of seasonal jobs that were actually lost appears to have been recorded by the Bureau of Labor statistics as a net gain of jobs. As the New York Post's business columnist John Crudele concluded after examining the detailed calculations behind the 243,000 job growth number:

A loss of jobs that isn’t as bad as expected turns into a job gain. Does that mean there really are 243,000 new jobs out there? Absolutely not.

When we get past the ambiguous employment figures, every other significant measure of economic performance is unambiguously worse since Obama became president. Here are just three examples:

• 1. The national debt was $10.627 trillion in January 2009 as compared with $15.371 trillion today.

• 2. The average retail price per gallon of gasoline in the U.S. was $1.83 in January 2009 compared with $3.50 today.

• 3. The number of people in poverty in the U.S. was 39,800,000 in January 2009 compared with more than 46,000,000 today.

The facts on the dismal state of the U.S. economy under President Obama speak for themselves.

The second area that the Obama spin machine is trying to re-write involves Obama's drastic cuts in Medicare to fund Obamacare. The Obama administration's funding of Obamacare depends on making $500 billion in cuts to Medicare spending for seniors over a period of ten years. Yet when Republican candidates running for their party's nomination simply point out this heavy blow inflicted on seniors, all that the Obama spin masters can say is that the Republican candidates misunderstand the issue. To the contrary, it is the Obama administration which is misleading the public, particularly seniors, as to its true intentions. Obamacare's Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) and the regulations being churned out by the Department of Health and Human Services are all about top-down, government mandated health care rationing.

Kathleen Sebelius, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, is a leading advocate in the Obama administration for employees to receive free methods of birth control as part of their employers' health insurance policies, including contraceptives, sterilization and morning after pills. Since nothing is really free, it will be employers or their insurers who get stuck with the bill, no matter what the moral beliefs of the insurers themselves or the employers who pay the insurance premiums may be. One rationale offered by the Obama administration is that preventing pregnancies is much cheaper than providing pre-natal and post-natal care. The value of life is reduced to dollars and cents by the stroke of a government pen.

Based on the same kind of top down cost-benefit analysis, Sebelius admitted in congressional testimony that, if Congress approved the IPAB bureaucracy's recommendation for Medicare to reduce its reimbursement payments to seniors for dialysis procedures, seniors may well be left unable to receive this life-saving treatment:

Mr. Chairman, as you know, any cut in services, certainly cost shifting to beneficiaries, could mean huge reductions in care that seniors would have the opportunity to receive.

Is it any wonder that some individuals question why free birth control should be an absolute right while a life-saving procedure for seniors such as dialysis may be on the chopping block?

Saving the best for last, this brings us directly to the third area about which the Obama spin machine is misleading the American people. It has to do with Obama's war on the First Amendment, evidenced most recently by his insistence that insurance companies, if not employers themselves, communicate with the insured employees about the availability of mandated benefits as to which the insurance companies and/or the employers may have moral objections to providing. This is a double assault on First Amendment rights of the free exercise of religion and freedom of speech, forcing individuals to violate a core religious belief or face a penalty for disobeying the government mandate and forcing such individuals to communicate publicly and affirmatively about the availability of the government-mandated benefit in their insurance plans irrespective of their religious beliefs.

The Supreme Court has stated that the "right of freedom of thought protected by the First Amendment against state action includes both the right to speak freely and the right to refrain from speaking at all...The right to speak and the right to refrain from speaking are complementary components of the broader concept of 'individual freedom of mind.'"

The issue is not whether women have the right to obtain and use contraceptives and other methods of birth control. Of course, they do. The issue is also not whether women have the ability to obtain contraceptives and other methods of birth control for free. They do - from organizations such as Planned Parenthood, free clinics or other charities that are advocates of birth control. Moreover, the government can decide to directly subsidize those who cannot afford birth control as a matter of public policy. But the Obama administration has declared war on the First Amendment by coercing individuals to become the instruments for communicating and implementing the Obama administration's ideological point of view that such individuals find morally repugnant.

We will continue to track the Obama spin machine during the course of the presidential campaign and expose its mendacity.

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