In case you didn’t get the message the first several dozen times, President Barack Obama wants to remind you that he inherited an economic problem. He has publicly pointed his finger at the previous administration at least 71 times since his inauguration in order to explain the economic slowdown, unemployment, housing mess and budget crisis that persist today, 2½ years into his presidency.
At various times, Obama has declared that he inherited “a fiscal disaster,” “an economic mess and a fiscal mess,” “a terrible mess,” “a big mess” and “a real, significant problem.” He has called it “the worst recession since the Great Depression,” “an economic crisis as deep and as dire as any since the Great Depression,” and “the most profound economic emergency since the Great Depression.”
Ignore the fact that, as a senator, Obama voted for much of the debt he now claims to have inherited. We will further refrain from blaming him for an economic crisis that admittedly started before he entered the Oval Office. But Obama is accountable for not getting the job done since then. This week’s anemic economic reports provide the latest in a steadily lengthening parade of data that demonstrates Obama’s policies have not produced the promised recovery, and possibly even retarded it.
It has been a depressing week indeed on the economic front. First came the new manufacturing numbers, showing the slowest growth in that sector since September 2009. Then came the ADP Employment Services report, which found that only 38,000 net jobs were added to private payrolls last month — just one-fifth the number expected. Finally, two new real estate reports squeezed extra lemon juice in that salted wound. One showed that mortgage applications are down nationwide, despite invitingly low interest rates. The other showed still-falling home prices in 19 out of 20 major cities. (Washington, D.C., is the sole exception, thanks largely to the government spending boom.) These gloomy numbers have led the major banks to slash forecasts for GDP growth. The economy grew just enough last year to emerge, officially, from the recession, but has stagnated since.
Aside from his explosion of already-high federal deficits, Obama’s economic policies to date have consisted of pushing businesses to help union allies, undermining economic confidence with attacks on business lenders and rolling out hundreds of new regulations. His $800 billion economic stimulus package was a bust.
More Americans are on food stamps today — 44.5 million, or 14.4 percent — than at any other time in American history. Obama has wasted billions on green energy subsidies even as gas prices climb. Yet unemployment remains at recession levels and the government moves closer to bankruptcy. Obama needs to acknowledge that the nation’s economic problems have not been fixed in the last 28 months and it’s time to try something different.