There’s No Recovery, Just More Hard Times Ahead

July 7, 2010

It’s comical to watch the financial channels’ pundits and Obama Administration officials almost on a daily basis tell us that we are well into an economic recovery.  Yes, there have been times when the economic data looked promising.  During some weeks first time unemployment claims have been down.  The economy has grown between two and three percent some months.  And there have even been some months when new home sales have swelled and the prices of houses in general have increased.  But the fact of the matter is that the worst of the crisis is yet to come and of course like the initial crisis which has lasted for close to three years already it will be Washington’s fault.

So, what are the indications that we are not well into an economic recovery and the worst of the economic pain is yet to come?  For one thing, the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), the government’s official judge of economic expansion and contraction, has not pronounced the recession that began in 2007 to be over.  Additionally, just yesterday the government announced the economy lost 125,000 jobs last month.  The real unemployment rate which takes into account discouraged and underemployed workers is still north of 16 percent.  Food stamp usage has skyrocketed to a record high of 40.2 million recipients.  Bank repossessions are still a massive problem.  They hit a record 93,777 in May which represented a 44 percent increase over May of the previous year.  Worst yet, all 50 states are experiencing year-over-year increases.  Banks still aren’t lending; consumers aren’t spending; and the national deficit and debt is in outer space with nothing good to show for it.

In all fairness, as mentioned above, there has been some good economic news from time to time.  For instance, housing prices did increase in April.  But most analysts attribute the rise to the rush to take advantage of the government tax credit for homebuyers which expired at the end of that month.  Since the tax credit expired almost all housing market barometers have dropped significantly.

Then there were those months that jobs were produced.  But, again, this had more to do with government gimmicks – 2010 census hiring and government spending then real economic progress. 

To be sure, some Americans are doing quite well in this recession and this might account for the president’s insistence that the recession is over and prosperity is just around the corner.  Who is doing well?  Well, folks that live close to Washington and Wall Street are doing very well.  Forbes Magazine has reported that 12 of the 25 riches counties in the country border the nation’s capital and financial headquarters.  It’s no wonder since government workers receive 45 percent more in pay and benefits than their private sector counterparts.  This is pretty good when you consider that it’s almost impossible to lose a government job even in economic recessions.  Of course, given the huge taxpayer bailouts to Wall Street bankers and the generous Federal Reserve policies towards the same it is also easy to see why suburban New York City is riding high in these tough times.

Besides the bureaucrats and bailout recipients several political cronies of the president have cashed in during this recession.  According to Floyd Brown and Lee Troxler in their book, Killing Wealth, Freeing Wealth, Larry Summers, chair of Obama’s Council of Economic Advisors, made $5.2 million in 2008 through his hedge fund.  Tom Donilon, a deputy National Security Advisor, made $3.9 million in legal fees representing Citigroup and Goldman Sachs.  As members of Obama’s inner circle, they are uniquely positioned to guarantee that federal policies continue to favor their interests.

And let’s not forget Obama’s huge financial supporter and billionaire buddy, George Soros.  According to Brown and Troxler, the financier pulled in $1.1 billion in trading profits in 2008.  After helping to finance Obama’s White House run, the president has wasted little time in rewarding his benefactor.  It is ironic that their partnership involves deepwater drilling.

The president and his cohorts in the media can spin economic news anyway they wish.  But, after 17 months in office and trillions of dollars spent to stimulate the economy the only thing the president’s policies have produced is more debt and predictions from many analysts that we are headed for a double-dip recession.  This should be no surprise – since similar economic policies deepened and prolonged the recession of 1929.  Then, Americans had to wait about 16 years for good economic times to return.  Given this president’s current propensity to spend there’s no telling how long it will take for this recession to end.

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Most Agree, Under Obama the Country is Headed in the Wrong Direction

May 29, 2010

While liberal pundits and media types this week had their hissy fit over Rand Paul’s spot on comments about how a portion of the Civil rights Act of 1964 is unconstitutional and un-American, those of us that really care about the future of the United States took notice of how the current administration is destroying it. 

Now, before you say this is just another rant by a fire breathing libertarian bent on desecrating the good name of the president, read on.  In a recent Rasmussen poll, 67 percent of Americans agree with me that the nation is on the wrong track.  Only 28 percent think things are honky dory.  Of course, the president’s approval rating continues to languish below fifty percent.  Even with his success in passing nationalized health care, he just can’t seem to enjoy the support of a majority of Americans.

So, what specifically is wrong with the direction of the country?  For one thing, the government just reported that it passed the $13 trillion debt mark.  Now, many will say, so what?  “We have had higher debt to GDP ratios in our nation’s history and our economy is big enough to weather the storm.”  That could be the feelings of the president as well since in just 16 months in office he is responsible for nearly $2.4 trillion of that total.  And it is true that just after World War II our debt to GDP ratio was higher (120 percent) than it is now.  But, honestly our national debt is much higher than $13 trillion that Uncle Scam reports.  We have to take into account the future unfunded liabilities of Social Security and Medicare.  When those future commitments are added in the current debt to GDP ratio is off the chart at 435 percent.  Even if we only consider the bogus government debt number of $13 trillion, when Bernanke and his counterfeiters at the Fed eventually raise interest rates significantly to combat the hyper-inflation caused by their fraudulent acts the interest on the debt alone will bust the federal treasury.  Foreign lenders will disappear and the French Revolution will look like a walk in the park compared to what will happen on American streets.

And after President Obama is done making most Americans dependent on Washington the austerity measures that will have to be enacted will cause serious civil unrest from coast to coast.  It was reported by USA Today this week that pay from private business decreased to its smallest share of personal income in U.S. history in the first three months of this year (so much for economic recovery).  Meanwhile, during the same time period government programs like Social Security, unemployment insurance, and food stamps rose to record highs.  I understand that we have just experienced the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression and these numbers should not be unexpected, but according to the administration we have been in a recovery for some time now, thus I would think the number of folks on welfare should be lessening not still increasing. 

The reason they are increasing is because the Obama Administration has a goal to build the welfare state like we have never seen it before.  Remember when Bill Clinton proclaimed, “We’ve ended welfare as we know it”?  That was a lie, but at least his reforms put time limits and other restrictions on receiving welfare.  Since the legislation was passed in 1996 welfare caseloads have decreased by 70 percent, child-poverty rates have dropped, and teen pregnancies are down.  Folks from across the political spectrum agree that Clinton’s reforms have helped the poor get on their feet in a humane manner. 

While the restrictions are still in place, starting with his so-called $862 billion stimulus package last year Obama has changed the way states receive welfare subsidies from Washington.  The Feds now pay states 80 percent of the cost for each new family added to the welfare rolls.  No longer do states have an incentive to drive welfare recipients into the job market.  To prove further that Obama wants a permanent underclass in America his budget projections show that he intends to spend $10.3 trillion on welfare for the 10 year period FY 2009 to FY 2018.  The question that has to be asked is: why is Obama so bent on destroying successful welfare reform and putting so many more folks on the public dole at a time when our treasury is so busted?  Perhaps this question and why it is that he wants to grant citizenship to illegal aliens have the same answer – to make the Democratic party the dominant party in American politics for a long time to come.  In any event, when the collapse comes all those on government benefits will have to find sustenance elsewhere.  Recent events in Greece are a preview of what could be coming to America.

Gargantuan debt and an expanding welfare state are just two reasons a large majority of Americans believe the country under Obama is on the wrong track.  Then, there are also the matters of illegal immigrants and expanded wars in the Middle East.  If only the liberal pundits and media would focus on the events that are destroying America instead of a gotcha interview with a Republican nominee for the Senate.  Then again, maybe that was the liberal establishment’s ploy all along – to distract the rest of us from reality?    

Article first published as Most Agree, Obama is Heading the Country the Wrong Direction on Blogcritics.