The Country is on the Wrong Track

Before I answer the homework question from my last column, here are more excerpts from the mystery author’s speech:

“These United States are confronted with an economic affliction of great proportions. … Idle industries have cast workers into unemployment, causing human misery and personal indignity. … For decades, we have piled deficit upon deficit, mortgaging our future and our children’s future for the temporary convenience of the present.  [Sounds like today, doesn’t it?]

“From time to time, we have been tempted to believe that society has become too complex to be managed by self-rule, that government by an elite group is superior to government for, by, and of the people. But if no one among us is capable of governing himself, then who among us has the capacity to govern someone else?

“We are a nation that has a government—not the other way around. And this makes us special among the nations of the Earth. Our Government has no power except that granted it by the people. It is time to check and reverse the growth of government which shows signs of having grown beyond the consent of the governed. … it is not my intention to do away with government. It is, rather, to make it work—work with us, not over us; to stand by our side, not ride on our back. Government can and must provide opportunity, not smother it; foster productivity, not stifle it.

“If we look to the answer as to why, for so many years, we achieved so much, prospered as no other people on Earth, it was because here, in this land, we unleashed the energy and individual genius of man to a greater extent than has ever been done before. Freedom and the dignity of the individual have been more available and assured here than in any other place on Earth. The price for this freedom at times has been high, but we have never been unwilling to pay that price.

“It is no coincidence that our present troubles parallel and are proportionate to the intervention and intrusion in our lives that result from unnecessary and excessive growth of government.”  [Same problem today.]

Barack Obama likes to claim that he inherited the worst economy since the Great Depression. The fact is that Ronald Reagan – the words above are from his first inaugural speech – inherited a much worse economy. Both faced about the same unemployment, about 7.5%. Reagan faced much worse inflation; mortgage rates were more than 13%. Ronald Reagan’s policies produced a robust economy. Obama’s policies have made the problems worse.

At this time in Reagan’s first term, unemployment was down and trending even further down. GDP was growing at a rate of 7.2%. Under Obama’s policies, the latest reported GDP growth is an anemic 1.3%.

In Obama’s first term:

There have been 43 months with unemployment above 8%. That is more months of high unemployment than the previous eleven Presidents combined.Over eight million people have given up looking for a job. If the government counted them as unemployed, the true unemployment would be 18%.Gas prices have more than doubled in four years – from about $1.90 to almost $4.00.Median income has fallen for three straight years – dropping $2500.There are 7 million more people in poverty now than when he took office. That number has increased for three straight years.The number needing food stamps has grown 15 million, almost 50%.

The recession officially ended in June 2009. We are now in a so-called “recovery”. But unemployment is higher now than at the start of the recession. Median income has dropped more in the recovery than during the actual recession. The number of people in poverty has increased every year of this recovery. Obama’s policies have been an utter failure; his recovery is the slowest and most prolonged since the great depression.

In the last 65 years there have been 10 other recessions and 10 other recoveries. Compared to every other recovery, Obama’s policies have produced the worst results of all. In all other recoveries, GDP growth has been an average of 4.6%; in the Obama recovery just 2.2% – and this year the GDP is growing barely 1.5%. All of the other 10 recoveries – all of them – had higher growth than Obama’s.

Some might argue that Obama faced a deeper recession than all others. Even if that were true – it’s not – the normal behavior is that the worse the recession, the stronger the recovery. If you look at the 5 worst recessions prior to Obama, the average growth was 5.9% – much better than Obama’s 2.2%.

At the beginning of the Obama recovery, the percentage of Americans with a job was 59.4%. Three years later that number had dropped to 58.4%. That represents 3 million people who just gave up searching for a job and dropped out of the labor market. In an average recovery, the percentage in the labor force, instead of dropping 1% would have increased 2.5%; 10 million more people would have a job.

The failure is not Obama, the man; it is his policies. He and his Washington Democrats have embraced policies of big spending, big taxes, big borrowing, and big regulating. Those policies have never worked. They have worsened and delayed an eventual recovery. Those failed policies are shared by virtually every other Democrat on the ballot, from President, Congressman, Governor, down to State Representative.

We cannot afford their big spending, big regulating, big taxing policies. We must get them out of Washington and we must keep them out of New Hampshire.

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