By Alan Caruba
Oh goody, the President is about to launch another series of speeches to address the economic stagnation for which he is to blame. Just what we all need—another speech. He is going to blame Republicans for the failure of his economic policies and he going to do it because it works. We know it works because his approval rating continues to hover around 47%, but dipped to 41% in a recent poll.
Obama spent the four years of his first term blaming George W. Bush until it became a joke along with his dependence on Tele-prompters. The only question facing the White House and all of the rest of us is how long will it take for this stagnant, nearly moribund economy to turn around? Don’t hold your breath.
The public is remarkably docile and history tells us that our grandparent’s generation endured the Great Depression from 1929 until the beginning of World War II in 1941. Because of his great popularity, Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected four times, starting in 1932, despite the obvious failure of his economic policies. Like Obama, the media of that era loved FDR.
The current economic malaise has affected everyone in some fashion—losing a job, having a job converted to a part-time status, having work hours limited, possibly facing foreclosure on their home, experiencing extremely low interest rates on their savings, the higher cost of gas and groceries, all without seriously affecting Obama’s job approval ratings or popularity.
Obama is going out on the road to maintain and bolster what popularity he retains because there is a huge portion of the population that continues to ignore the failure of his stimulus program, the Benghazi scandal, the growing scandal within the Internal Revenue Service, the revelation that the NSA is tracking and retaining records of all our electronic communications, and most obviously the lavish lifestyle of Obama that permits him take his family on an “official” trip to Africa that cost of $100 million, soon to be followed by another vacation in Martha’s Vineyard.
Some economists are beginning to write about an economic recovery, but as experienced by most people, it is a phantom recovery. On July 15, Mort Zuckerman, the editor-in-chief of US News & World Report, had a commentary published in The Wall Street Journal titled “A Jobless Recovery is a Phony Recovery.” He noted that the failure to recover from the financial crisis of 2008 has been “the longest and worst recession since the end of World War II”; one that has “been marked by the weakest recovery from any U.S. recession in that same period.”
Zuckerman said “the jobless nature of the recovery is particularly unsettling” and cited surveys that demonstrated the lack of fulltime versus part-time jobs. While the official government unemployment figure is 7.6%, Zuckerman cited data that, as of June, put it at 14.5%, up from 13.8% in May. “The 7.6% unemployment figure so common in headlines these days is utterly misleading.”
That, however, has been Obama’s special genius. He knows how to mislead people and he does so effortlessly, telling lies that a school child would not get away with or, in the case of the Benghazi scandal, drowning it in lies and then putting distance between the event long enough to see it sink below the public radar or even concern. The mainstream media has long since abandoned any coverage of it.
Not even the nation’s soaring debt merits coverage by the mainstream media. It now stands at $17 trillion dollars, exceeding the Gross Domestic Product by easily three trillion, meaning that the nation is taking in far less than it is spending. Indeed, the nation has avoided even more debt only because of the draconian “sequester” that capped government spending. After Congress returns from its August recess, the battle over raising the debt limit will ensue.
As the Heritage Foundation recently calculated, your personal share of the national debt is $53,769. This debt will cause families to lose up to $11,000 of their income every year at the same time high government spending will eliminate opportunities for career advancement, will paralyze job creation, and lower wages and salaries. Many will not be able to borrow money as interest rates increase.
It’s not like there haven’t been voices in the political wilderness warning of these outcomes. One notable voice has been David A. Stockman, Ronald Reagan’s budget director from 1981 to 1985, and currently the author of “The Great Deformation: The Corruption of Capitalism in America.”
“Over the last 13 years,” Stockman wrote in a New York Times opinion editorial, “the stock market has twice crashed and touched off a recession: American households lost $5 trillion in the 2000-dot-com bust and more than $7 trillion in the 2007 housing crash. Sooner or later—within a few years, I predict—this latest Wall Street bubble, inflated by the egregious flood of phony money from the Federal Reserve rather than real economic gains, will explode, too.”
The largest bankruptcy of an American city, Detroit, just made the headlines and it wasn’t caused by Republicans. Democrats have run Detroit since January 1952. In combination with its public service unions, its mayors and city government, all Democrats, destroyed the city.
President Obama is going to hit his perpetual campaign trail to tell Americans that the economy is turning around, is gaining momentum, and that his policies of the first four years have worked. They have not. At some point enough American will have to stop listening to Obama’s siren call—“Who you gonna believe? Me or your lying eyes?”
© Alan Caruba, 2013