If this morning’s employment report has you down, just listen to President Obama. The U.S. economy is gorgeous, he insists.
“In the United States, our economy is growing again,” Obama crowed during his trip to Germany last month. And the American people would appreciate all of this “if we had been able to more effectively communicate all the steps we had taken” to improve it, he recently told one news outlet.
“It is very hard to get good stories placed” about the economy, Obama whined to college journalists last week. “People will assign you stories about what’s not working. It’s very hard for you to write a story about, ‘Wow, this thing really works good.'”
That grammatical gaffe aside, a failure to communicate is not among Obama’s myriad weaknesses.
As his self-confident and hilarious appearance at last Saturday’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner confirmed, Obama is a gifted speaker. The national media have eaten out of his hand since he descended from the heavens, fully formed, at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. As president, he can summon two dozen TV cameras and just as many microphones just by crawling out of bed every morning. So, the notion that Obama cannot express his economic message “good” deeply insults the intelligence of the American people.
While Obama can talk the bark off a banyan tree, he cannot make Americans hallucinate prosperity. Here is the sad picture they actually see:
The unemployment rate has improved significantly, from 7.8 percent at Obama’s January 20, 2009, inauguration to 5.0 percent in April.
However, as more and more Americans stop looking for work, the Labor Force Participation Rate on Obama’s watch has fallen from 65.7 percent to 62.8 percent, a level last measured before Obama in March 1978. Since Obama took office, this metric has slid 4.1 percent.
Last month saw the creation of 160,000 jobs, a widely panned number, and much below the 200,000-plus jobs generated in five of the last six months. Nothing about the latest employment report spells “boom.”
Meanwhile, annualized GDP growth nearly stalled in the first quarter at a meager 0.5 percent. This is down from already tepid 1.4 percent growth in the fourth quarter of 2015.
Obama is the only U.S. chief executive in history not to preside over even a single year with 3 percent GDP growth, as the Institute for Policy Innovation’s Tom Giovanetti observes:
‘From 1790 to 2000, U.S. real GDP growth averaged 3.79 percent,’ entrepreneur Louis Woodhill explained at RealClearMarkets. He expects final figures to show that ‘2015 will have been the tenth year in a row that real GDP growth came in at under 3.0 percent.’
During the Obama years, the number of Americans below the poverty line is up 3.5 percent.
Real median household income: down 2.3 percent.
Americans on Food Stamps – 33 million then, 46 million now: up 39.5 percent.
Americans who own homes: down 5.6 percent.
National debt – $10.63 trillion then vs. $19.19 trillion last Wednesday: up 80.5 percent.
Meanwhile, millions of college-educated Millennials are languishing in their parents’ basements and wallowing in student debt, with limited prospects. Many of those who have found work lag their predecessors.
A recent report by New York City’s Democratic comptroller Scott Stringer found that Gotham employees born between 1985 and 1996 earn roughly 20 percent less than their peers a generation earlier. Lack of work and lower wages are a recipe for student-debt hangovers. Robust economic growth is the cure.
“This generation is at a crossroads. They worked hard, got an education and then faced roadblocks to getting a good-paying job,” Stringer told U.S. News and World Report. “We need to foster an economy here that helps young people get ahead, not one that holds them back.”
Insurance companies are fleeing Obamacare’s exchanges. Amid $650 million in expected losses this year, UnitedHealth announced that it would medevac itself out of all but “a handful” of its 34 state markets.
For details on these data, click here:
As the Wall Street Journal‘s Dan Henninger has noted, even the Clintons acknowledge Obama’s economic wreckage.
Americans are suffering “the awful legacy of the last eight years,” Bill Clinton said in March. He explained on April 26, “The problem is, 80 percent of the American people are still living on what they were living on the day before the crash [of 2008]. And about half the American people, after you adjust for inflation, are living on what they were living on the last day I was president, 15 years ago. So that’s what’s the matter.”
Stumping in New Haven, Conn., Hillary Clinton spoke about a nurse who is facing breast cancer and foreclosure.
“She is speaking for so many people across our country who feel beaten down, left out and left behind,” Hillary said. “People who have worked hard and done their part, but just can’t seem to get ahead, and find it tough even to get by.”
In Obama’s eighth year, Americans remain in pain. The best thing he can do is apologize, stop talking, and leave us alone until January 20, 2017.
A version of this piece also appeared on National Review Online.