At the end of 1970’s the United States was in a world of economic hurt. It seems as though both the economy and the American spirit were broken. Even the weather seemed to be conspiring against against it as record cold and snowfall gripped the nation. In a national address Jimmy Carter admonished the people to put on a sweater and accept the fact this was their new reality. His now infamous Malaise Speech seemed more like last rights to a dieing country than words from the leader of the free world.
The Carter malaise was a period in many ways worse than when President Obama took office. For Obama the banking crisis had already been dealt with by Bush in the closing days before he left. Although unemployment was soaring it was not as bad as during the Carter malaise and, unlike during that recession, inflation was not an issue. President Obama took office with the wind at his back and the treasury in his pocket. He got all he asked for and more and promised a short lived recession.
In fact by autumn the economy was picking up, unemployment was dropping and the economic growth had returned. Then came the passage of ObamaCare and a corresponding drop in GDP. Dodd-Frank, EPA regulations and a downgrade from all the reckless spending added to the misery. It seemed as though the government was putting its hands around the country’s economic throat and squeezing for all it was worth. The country soon slipped into a near catatonic state, an economic malaise that has never left.
The Great Malaise has been marked sporadic drops in per person GDP and followed by marginal growth. Every time the GDP manages to get above the 2% growth needed to keep up with population a media led cheer is heard. Inevitably the celebrations are short lived. Last quarter was .4%, this one was 2.5% and the consensus is next quarter will drop down again. The only thing certain is real growth and real recovery are no closer today then it was four years ago. Like a drunk sitting on a park bench, the economy is not able to stand but it is not falling over either,
President Obama has presided over the worst “recovery” in history, his policies have shown to be complete object failures. What is truly astounding are the statistics behind the Great Malaise:
- Welfare expenditures are up 41% with 1 in 6 Americans receiving food stamps. A result of both the economy and a massive effort by the USDA to sign up as many as possible. Going as far as calling receiving welfare patriotic and sending brochures in Spanish to the Mexican embassy to advertise the fact that immigration status does not impact eligibility.
- Eleven states are now what Forbes called death spiral states, places where more people are reliant on the government than the private sector.
- The United States debt has increased 60% under President Obama alone and might even double before he leaves office. It is now over 105% of the total economy and is likely to get worse, much worse.
- Not one but multiple credit downgrades, a first in U.S. history. One downgrade should of sent a shock wave through America let alone the series of downgrades that have been seen.
- Work participation rates have steadily fallen and now are hovering around Carter era numbers. A time when housewives outnumbered working mothers.
- Unemployment has fallen almost entirely due to large numbers of people no longer considered part of the workforce. If participation rates were what they should be unemployment would be in the double digits.
- Median income is down 8% since Obama took office and is still dropping. Americans Median income has not been this low since President Clinton was sworn in as President.
There are more statistics that could be cited but the point is made. The United States in in an economic stupor. The failure of President Obama’s economic policies are patently obvious, or at least should be. The fact is he was re-elected. Something that can be blamed partially on massive media journalistic maleficence, lack of enthusiasm for Romney and a very large African Americans turnout. Another contributor was the pre-election day October surprise. An a unexpected and still unexplained drop in unemployment that gave the impression things were improving.* Unfortunately with no more elections to worry about the President has little incentive to change course or even deviate.
The truth is if it weren’t for two factors the United States would be back in recession. One being the growth in the energy sector due to fracking, something the administration had nothing to do with and would stop if it could. The other is the Federal Reserve’s easy money policy which is fattening Wall Street bank accounts and papering over weaknesses in the economy.
As for Americans they are finally getting it, only 29% believe the United States is heading in the right direction. Over half of those probably work for the government. Unfortunately it is a little late for them to be coming to their senses. The train has left the station and everyone has boarded back onto the the Obama express to nowhere.
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* In October 2012 the Labor Department data showed few employers did any hiring while the Obama controlled Census Bureau said over 600,000 people found a job, Of course unemployment is based on Census figures which meant unemployment magically dropped just before the election. The Department of Labor that publishes the unemployment figures went to the extraordinary step of putting a note on the web site declaring they had nothing to do with the data that showed the unemployment drop.