Skip to comments.America Can Do Better
Posted on 05/09/2012 6:08:20 AM PDT by Kaslin
WASHINGTON - It should be clear by now that President Obama is running against the U.S. economy and as of last week the economy was beating him.
A couple of weeks ago, as Mitt Romney was locking up the Republican presidential nomination, Obama's anemic polling numbers were hitting 50 percent, up from the mid-to-upper 40s and his prospects were looking up. Then in the past week, two bleak economic reports knocked him off his shaky pedestal and he was back in the 40s again and in a dead heat with Romney.
The salient characteristic of Obama's presidency has been a mediocre, sub-par economic recovery, the weakest since the Great Depression. And his only hope of winning a second term is an improving economy that is creating a lot of jobs.
But just as he was officially kicking off his re-election bid last week, his campaign was hit by a withering political body blow that even his vaunted oratory is finding it hard to overcome.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that job growth, which was weak to begin with, was slowing down even more. Obama's economy had created only 115,000 jobs last month, after a mediocre jobs report in March.
Perhaps the second most stunning number in the BLS report was the 342,000 discouraged workers who said they've given up looking for employment because of the lack of jobs. In the perverse way the government defines the unemployment rate, these workers were dropped from the job seeker's column, and that pushed unemployment down to 8.1 percent.
"In the weakest recovery since the Great Depression more than four-fifths of the reduction in unemployment has been accomplished by a dropping adult force participation rate," writes University of Maryland business economist Peter Morici.
It was further proof that the Obama economy is slowing down at a critical point in his desperate effort to avoid becoming another one term president.
His campaign was already reeling from a feeble 2.2 percent economic growth rate in the first quarter, with top economists forecasting weaker growth for the rest of this year and next.
Now his candidacy is bleeding from two back-to-back jobs reports that reminded long-suffering Americans of the president's biggest failing: Getting the economy running at full throttle again.
"This is a time when America wants to have someone who knows what it takes to create jobs and get people working again," Romney said last week.
Obama was caught flat-footed as he campaigned in Ohio and Virginia, two pivotal swing states that he carried in 2008 and that are now considered tossups, at best.
He repeated his usual excuses that the economy was still creating some jobs, but had to sheepishly admit it was not nearly enough.
"There's still a lot of folks out of work, which means that we've got to do more."
He said he would soon "take some actions...that can accelerate even more job growth," but didn't say what they would be.
"It may not matter," according to The Wall Street Journal. "Economists say it is probably too late for any policy out of Washington to affect the economy before November's election."
Until last week, Obama had a clear edge over Romney. That is, until the jobs report came out and, in a double whammy, the stock market dropped sharply, with the Dow falling by nearly 170 points, the biggest drop nearly a month.
By Sunday, the Gallup Poll was reporting that Obama's job performance score had fallen, and by Monday Romney had the edge in the race once again, 46 to 45 percent.
But one critical number that won't be moving much is the jobs number. Economic growth remains too weak to create many jobs and that's what Obama faces from here on out.
Obama talks lamely that the economy was still coming out of the recession, and boasting of having created "more than one million jobs in the last six months." That sounds a like a lot to some voters, but 1.1 million jobs were created in a single month in the much faster Reagan recovery in 1983.
Obama is running out of convincing numbers, excuses and time. The sputtering jobs report sent his senior White House advisers scurrying for something to propose on the dismal employment front. But it's a bit late for another jobs plan.
His $1 trillion spending stimulus was an abject failure. His post- midterm election proposals, a mish-mash of still more infrastructure spending, have gone nowhere.
Now he's in the midst of another economic slowdown without any oars, or a boat for that matter.
The White House had hoped that the Federal Reserve would rescue the president with a new stimulus maneuver. But the Fed's $400 billion bond-buying initiative ends in June and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke keeps signaling that any further action requires a change in fiscal policy and that's Congress's responsibility.
Fiscal policy means getting tough with Obama's $1.3 trillion budget deficit and making some decisions about lowering future tax rates, or at least making the Bush tax rates permanent before they shoot up next year.
But Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid won't budge on passing any budget this year (he hasn't passed one in three years), and the White House refuses to consider tax reductions or even extending existing tax cuts.
"The economy is still weak" and the jobs numbers show "it's slowing or softening," Stanford University economist Keith Hennessey told me. But it doesn't have to be this way.
To quote Mitt Romney, "The last few years have been the best that Barack Obama can do, but it's not the best America can do."
IMHO, this quote from the article for this thread is the best argument for an Open Republican Convention in Tampa:
” - - - by Monday Romney had the edge in the race once again, 46 to 45 percent.”
It is difficult to imagine a more failed performance record than Obama’s.
Hence, to have an “Anybody but Obama” Candidate in an opposing Political Party be statistically tied in voter polls with such a sorry, incompetent, incumbent brings several speculations to mind as follows:
1.) The Republican Party is held in low repute by those polled voters;
2.) Romney is held in low repute by those polled voters;
3.) Those polled voters find little difference between Republicans and Democrats;
4.) Those polled voters find little difference between Romney and Obama.
5.) Those polled voters are receptive to a “Dump Romney” Campaign at the Tampa Republican Convention in Tampa.
BTW, if the voters can FIND a difference, then how can the election MAKE a difference?
[ To Jim Robinson: No need to reply, as this is just a FYI.]
You miss the one reason for the 46 to 45 split that I firmly believe:
We are on a precipice where the population of the US is almost exactly split. One half wants more and bigger government and more and bigger hand-outs, while the other half (you and me and everyone else on FR) want to return to a country of freedom and self-determination.
I hate to think about but there really is no peaceful solution to this problem but one half of this country is about to lose, and I don’t think either group is going to be graceful about it.
I too find it hard to believe that out of 300 million plus CITIZENS, we can't find ANYONE better than a kenyan/indonesian foreigner.
By "rank-and-file" I'm not referring to just people who belong to a labor union; I'm talking about every single Jane and Joe who files a tax return, particularly those Janes and Joes who have a positive number in the box "total tax due". (Remember, refunds were not supposed to be gifts, they were supposed to be returns for overpayment of withholding.)
The community organizer in chief is more worried about a fraction of the population that are considered "needy" then about the health of the United States as a whole. In particular, I've not seen much from Obama and Friends about a "hand up" for those people less fortunate, just "handouts". Unemployment benefits should include a requirement that the people receiving the benefits should have responsibilities to take action to get off the dole. Now. I allow that's tough to do given the business climate that Mr. Obama has created, one that has companies holding onto cash "for a regulatory rainy day" (some might say "thunderstorm") than putting that cash to work.
Then there is the problem that this Great Talker seems to say things that are false to fact, or fall short of predictions. The infamous stimulus didn't meet its target of eight percent unemployment. This is almost as good as the blarney spouted when the 16th Amendment was presented to the States and the people -- and look where it has led us.
Ah, yes. Taxes. Want everyone to pay their fair share? Have Congress start removing pages wholesale from Title 26 of the US Code -- do we really need social programs and a whole raft of obsolete incentives in our tax code? Harmonize personal and business deductions -- I still remember when credit card interest was deductible for individuals, not just for businesses and corporations, or specific classes of people. Perhaps a Fair Tax is too steep a change, but we can start carefully whittling out sections of the Tax Code to the point that even the IRS agents can understand it. Not to mention the average Jane and Joe.
It's time for the Tax Code to apply equally to everyone, not be selective. That includes taxing all income equally, and not making different classes of income. That includes making deductions available for everyone, not just for particularly-crafted organizations. Going to hit seniors too hard? Craft the deductions and the tax rates -- for everyone, mind you -- to eliminate the impact, and perhaps improve, the senior's position. Raise the $600 filing floor to something more reasonable, indexed to inflation, so that people who don't earn a living wage aren't burdened with an unnecessary 1040 form. Then reduce the rates to a level that makes the change revenue-neutral, or perhaps a little revenue-positive.
(And while you are at it, laws that apply to The People should also apply to The Legislators and White House Executives. But I digress.)
Then there is that "document" that implements the laws that Congress passes: The Code of Federal Regulations. How about Michelle Obama champion putting that obese, 145,816-page (2007) collection of paper on a diet, too? That's where most of the job-killing regulations live. But there is a surprising amount of duplication in the Code of Federal Regulations, duplication that could be removed by harmonizing common administrative procedure across the many departments of the Executive. If the Supreme Court thought that reading 2700 pages of statute constituted "cruel and unusual punishment", what does 54 times the number of pages constitute to the American public?
(When I made a bid in answer to a RFQ published in the Federal Register it took me more than two weeks to read all the rules and regulations I could find for preparing the bid. Must have missed something; my bid was rejected "for procedural reasons.")
Mr. Obama had three years to implement "Hope and Change". Two of those years was with a Democratic Congress. If his ideas were sensible, then the Republicans could be convinced (if not by Obama, by the people) to get behind those ideas -- but ObamaCare was not sensible: it treated the symptoms, not the disease, and it was universally panned by the political equivalent of the FDA, the American people. American said "No". Congress decided not to listen, thinking "Congress knows better."
If Obama wants to change the economy for the better, he starts with cleaning the Executive of the deadbeats that boast about how little actual work they do. Show them the door for cause, and chop off their pensions and "Cadillac" medical benefits.
I agree that American can do better. Obama can do better. Congress can do better.
And each voter needs to do better, or we will lose this great country.
I agree, time to cut off the head of the snake. It’s now or never.
Obama doesn’t want America to do better than this.