A tailspin of spending

Obama's economic approach isn't improving America's fiscal fitness

 

More than a year in, and many thousands of jobs lost, "Obamanomics" is failing to stimulate either the economy or the support of European allies.

As a result, experts fear the weak and mostly jobless recovery may give way to a double-dip recession.

The president's approach was largely to put the country deeper into hock to the Chinese in order to shore up government jobs -- which he did, temporarily. But even there, the pain is now coming in waves: In South Carolina alone, thousands of teachers and other state workers are expected to lose their jobs in the coming months.

The strategy of shoring up the public sector might have been rescued from itself had Washington also pursued broad policies to reinvigorate the private sector with tax cuts and decreases in the regulation and litigation that hold back job growth and entrepreneurship. Sadly, that was not to be the case.

Mr. Obama's government-centric, spend-spend-spend approach has failed utterly and completely.

However the Obama administration wants to pass the buck to the prior administration -- no other White House has ever done more of it -- the plain facts are that this president's approach to the national economy isn't helping, and may be hurting.

Starkly, a year after being the belle of the ball, Obama was wholly rebuffed by other world leaders at the recent G8 and G20 meetings in Canada -- where he tried to sell the debt-strapped nations of Europe on yet more spending, which he's trying to sell us on as well.

As cable financial network CNBC said of the Federal Reserve's take on the economy, "employment is showing only gradual improvement, the housing market is languishing and consumer spending is increasing only modestly."

One analyst told CNBC, "We think we'll be fortunate if the double-dip is the worst that lies ahead."

Fortunate to only be in a second recession?

Yes. That means what you think it means.

"We would eagerly like to see divergence from the parallels to 1930," the analyst told CNBC. "So far there are no signs of divergence."

Recently, Reuters reported, "Private payrolls rose less than expected in June and overall employment fell for the first time this year as thousands of temporary census jobs ended, showing the economic recovery is failing to gain traction."

In addition, a report released by the respected and nonpartisan Pew Research Center says unemployment figures "don't fully convey the scope of the employment crisis that has unfolded during the recession." Writing of the 13 recessions since the Great Depression, Pew says, "none has presented a more punishing combination of length, breadth and depth than this one."

Since the "Great Recession" began in 2008, Pew says, 55 percent of adult workers have experienced "a spell of unemployment, a cut in pay, a reduction in hours or have become involuntary part-time workers."

In another report, Pew says 29 percent of Americans believe Obama's policies have worsened the economy, while only 23 say they've helped. The percentage saying they've hurt the economy has nearly doubled in the past year.

Oddly enough, the G20 summit in Canada recently saw leaders of the European Union schooling Mr. Obama on basic economics and the need to reduce debt; ultimately, the richest nations pledged to cut their deficits in half by 2013.

We do agree with Mr. Obama's caution to his European colleagues: They could make things worse by cutting government spending too abruptly and deeply, while also raising taxes. The spending must be eased up on delicately -- and this is no time for higher taxes.

But the president's lack of commitment to reducing spending is much more worrisome.

More

Fri, 03/24/2017 - 21:58

Well-earned trust

Fri, 03/24/2017 - 21:58

A clash of cultures