The latest Obama 2012 campaign slogan is “Betting on America.” However, the latest round of dismal economic news shows that when it comes to the economy, President Obama is a poor gambler, and the country is headed for bust.
June figures showed 8.2 percent official unemployment. This is unchanged from the previous month, which is very bad news for the administration. A month ago, Mr. Obama declared confidently that “the private sector is doing fine,” but there was nothing in the new job numbers to back him up. Only 84,000 private-sector jobs were added in June, a third of which were temporary jobs. That number is below already gloomy estimates.
Second-quarter job growth dropped an average of 226,000 per month in the first three months of the year to 75,000, which doesn’t even keep pace with population growth. At the same time, 85,000 people left the work force and filed for Social Security Disability Insurance. This fits a general pattern in recent years. The Obama campaign trumpets the 2.6 million jobs it “created” since June of 2009, but over the same period, 3.1 million workers went on disability. The private sector isn’t fine, it is on life support.
The gambler-in-chief has delivered far below what he promised when he sat down at the table. According to the Obama administration’s official projections of the job effects of the 2009 stimulus plan, unemployment was supposed to be around 5.5 percent by now and would have been (Democrats said) around 6 percent without it. Thus, according to the administration’s own figures, the American people took on close to a trillion dollars of new debt in order to produce more joblessness than would have existed had the government done nothing. Unemployment is currently higher than even the highest rates the Obama administration predicted back in 2009.
Mr. Obama wants the country to double down, but there are signs that the economy is headed for a double-dip. Consumer confidence has fallen for four straight months, according to the Conference Board. The Thomson Reuters index of same-store retail sales showed a 0.1 percent increase in June, the worst showing in years. Growth in the gross domestic product dropped to 1.9 percent in the first quarter of 2012, and major forecasts for the second quarter range between 1.6 percent and 2 percent. This is bad news going into a re-election effort; better GDP numbers in 1992 prompted challenger Bill Clinton’s campaign to declare a “crisis” and charge that President George H.W. Bush’s policies had “driven the country into a ditch.” In 2012, it is still the economy, stupid.
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