WASHINGTON — In a year-end news conference last week, Barack Obama delivered a whitewashed, deeply delusional report about how much better off the country is under his presidency.
As he has throughout his tenure, he ticked off dubious claims that do not stand up to serious scrutiny, ignoring the mismanagement scandals, policy blunders and political disasters that have struck his administration.
He started off with his biggest whopper: the economy and jobs. “The steps that we took early on to rescue our economy and rebuild it on a new foundation helped make 2014 the strongest year for job growth since the 1990s,” he said with a straight face.
The solution Obama and the Democrats chose to pull our economy out of the recession was a nearly $1 trillion spending bill that sent checks to an alphabet list of federal agencies and state and local governments to spend on schools, infrastructure and anything else they could think of.
The money created some jobs, and supposedly “saved” others, but when the roads and bridges were repaired, the “shovel-ready” jobs ended. But the unemployment rate still was quite high, economic growth remained weak, and too many millions Americans were still struggling.
For Obama to say that this year was the strongest since the 1990s for job creation isn’t saying much. The national jobless rate averages nearly 6 percent, but unemployment is higher than that in about a dozen states, and over 7 percent in nine others.
The president has the gall to compare job growth to the 1990s, but his slippery claim falls short when you compare the employment rates then and now. The economy took off in Bill Clinton’s second term, after he signed a GOP capital gains investment tax cut, and the nation’s jobless rate fell to a full-employment 4 percent.
But many economists even doubt the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 5.8 percent figure for November, saying it leaves out millions of jobless or underemployed Americans.
When you count long-term unemployed people who are no longer regularly seeking a job or have stopped looking — or those forced to take part-time work when they need full-time — the real jobless rate is 11.5 percent, nearly twice as high as Obama’s bogus figure.
Perhaps Obama’s most insufferable failure is the length of the recession under his impotent policies. The average is usually about two years. But at the end of his sixth year in office, we’re still mired in the “recovery” phase — with no end in sight.
When Americans voted in the midterm elections last month, exit polls showed that their biggest concerns were the economy and jobs.
Yet Obama campaigned around the country this fall, insisting that “there’s almost no economic measure by which we’re not doing better than we were when I took office.”
He implies that the economy is stronger. But Stanford University economist Keith Hennessey says, “That does not necessarily follow, especially given the depth of the 2008-2009 recession. The U.S. economy has been climbing out of that hole for (over) five years, but it still has a long way to go.”
“In my judgment the U.S. economy is still quite weak … and voters know and can sense it,” Hennessey wrote shortly before the Nov. 4 election.
For the past six years, Obama and his apologists in the news media have exuberantly praised the mediocre jobs numbers when they began coming in at 150,000, 200,000 and, recently, barely over 300,000.
The BLS says the economy has added 2.65 million jobs so far this year. But that’s nothing to write home about. Go all the way back to President Reagan’s bipartisan tax-cut agenda when the economy shook off its recession in just two years, producing robust monthly job figures of 350,000, 400,000, 500,000 and more.
In September 1983, the Reagan economy produced a spectacular 1.3 million jobs in that month alone and was growing at a stunning 4.5 percent rate (and between 7 and 8.5 percent in succeeding months), growth that Obama can only dream about.
Now, flash forward to the age of Obama when a gullible, liberal news media are praising Obama’s weaker economic numbers as “solid” and a sign the economy is stronger than ever. But a majority of Americans still don’t see that happening.
A Washington Post/ABC poll reported last week that 52 percent of Americans disapprove of his handling of the economy.
Incomes are flat. Economic growth this year will come in at a tepid 2.3 to 2.4 percent, says the Federal Reserve, and between 2.6 to 3 percent in 2015.
Though the media played it down, the Fed expressed caution about the Obama economy last week, saying that relatively high unemployment and lower inflation forecasts “may, for some time, warrant keeping the target federal funds (interest) rate below levels the Committee views as normal in the longer run.”
At his news conference Friday, Obama tried to sound upbeat about the past year, saying, “I’m energized.” He pointed to his solo decision to block deportation of illegal immigrants, his dubious environmental deal with China, his health care program, his opening to Cuba, and that he has brought more soldiers home from the war-torn Middle East.
But he said little or nothing about his party’s humiliating defeat in the elections, largely due to his unpopularity; the GOP’s takeover of the Senate; the declining sign-ups for Obamacare; the need to send more troops back to Iraq to fight terrorist armies that now control much of Iraq and Syria and threaten our security here at home; or Russia’s unimpeded military invasion of Ukraine and its successful seizure of Crimea.
He said the U.S. would respond in its own good time to North Korea’s cyberattack that forced the Sony film studio to shelve one of its movies, which many national security experts saw as an act of war. By Sunday, though, Obama meekly played down the event as a form of “vandalism.”
No wonder he is seen as a weak, incompetent chief executive who no longer has a governing majority or an agenda for a troubled country that is understandably now turning its attention to the 2016 presidential election cycle.