Charles Kadlec ~ Forbes – Success, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.
The traditional measure of the success of an Administration’s economic program has been real economic growth, employment growth, the unemployment rate and the like. Based on these criteria, the Obama Administration’s economic program has been a dismal failure:
- Real economic growth during the recovery – now three years old – has averaged 2.2%, less than half of the historic average for post recession rebounds.
- There are 1.1 million fewer people on non-farm payrolls today than when President Obama took office.
- The unemployment rate has been above 8% for 42 consecutive months, the longest period of sustained high unemployment since the Great Depression.
Even against the Obama economic team’s own criteria, the results scream failure:
- Passage of an $862 billion stimulus was promised to keep the unemployment rate from rising above 8%, compared to a projected 9% peak without the stimulus. Instead, the unemployment rate peaked at 10% in October 2009, and exceeded 9% for more than two years.
- Absent the stimulus, the unemployment rate was projected to fall below 7% during 2012. Yet, last month, it rose to 8.3%, in spite of 7.5 million people leaving the labor force, and therefore no longer being counted as unemployed.
- If the labor force participation rate had remained unchanged, the unemployment rate would now be above 11%.
Yet, President Obama has not changed course, but rather continues to advocate more spending and higher tax rates.
Four years ago, then Senator Obama ran for President, promising to fundamentally change America. Based on that goal, his Administration’s economic program has been an extraordinary success! The combination of below average economic growth, high unemployment and his Administration’s initiatives to expand the number of welfare recipients have produced:
- An increase of 18 million people, to 46 million Americans now receiving food stamps;
- A 122% increase in food stamp spending to an estimated $89 billion this year from $40 billion in 2008;
- An increase of 3.6 million people receiving Social Security disability payments;
- A 10 million person increase in the number of individuals receiving welfare, to 107 million, or more than one-third of the U.S. population;
- A 34%, $683 billion reduction in the adjusted gross income of the top 1% to $1.3 trillion in 2009 (latest data) from its 2007 peak.
In addition, the President has vastly expanded the power of the Administrative State over the American people, while elevating the power of the President over the other two branches of government.