Obama’s Economic Unreality

July 12, 2010

Sadly, with President Obama, each day is crazier than the previous one. His latest economic speeches border on the surreal. I just can’t quite figure out who he thinks his audience is because so much of what he says doesn’t square with reality.

In a speech Friday in Las Vegas, Obama painted quite a rosy portrait of his economic record to date — at least rosy compared with what we’ve all experienced with our five senses.

Though I don’t intend to go all “Joe Wilson” on him (“You lie!”), please let me share with you a few, shall we say, “discrepancies” in his speech, the major theme of which could be summarized as “” inherited the worst economy since the Depression, and I saved us from a new depression because I say I did.”

Obama doesn”t merely ignore all empirical evidence that flies in the face of his claim; he just tells us, astonishingly, that it is positive evidence. It would be like a thief telling the judge at his sentencing that but for his heist, his victims would have been worse off. Or a student telling a math teacher that three minus two equals four. Consider:

–He twice claimed that he inherited the worst economy since the Great Depression, which is no less absurd than Bill Clinton’s claim that he inherited from George H.W. Bush the “worst economy in 50 years.” Both men conveniently omitted the high misery index-riddled economy of the worst president in American history before Barack Obama, Jimmy Carter. Carter’s interest rates reached 15.27 percent. Inflation soared to 13.5 percent. And unemployment grew to 7.8 percent. Obama also omitted his own record, which is far worse than the one he “inherited.” His unemployment figures, by the way, easily outdo Carter’s.

–Obama described the George W. Bush years as “a decade of misguided economic policies — a decade of stagnant wages, a decade of declining incomes, a decade of spiraling deficits.” The Democratic distortion of the Bush record really gets tiring. Try out these statistics: In 2006, the Bush economy grew at 5.6 percent, representing the 18th straight quarter of economic growth, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. The unemployment rate was 4.7 percent; it later fell to 4.6 percent, which was lower than the average rate of unemployment for any of the preceding four decades. (Barack, please tell us how you are going to spin your 9.7 rate against Dubya’s 4.7.) As for those deficits, Bush promised to cut them in half in five years but did so ahead of time. Bush’s deficits had decreased to the low $200,000s. Even his deficit for fiscal year 2008, after the recession set in, was far lower than Obama’s deficits, especially when considering the repayment of most of the TARP monies — repayments, by the way, that Obama tried to prevent and/or co-opt for further wasteful spending. Plus, Obama’s refrain that the Bush tax cuts led to deficits is flatly contradicted by the record, which shows that federal tax revenues grew following his tax cuts.

–Obama also had the audacity to suggest that his profligate federal programs are stimulating the private sector, when the uncontroverted evidence is that we’ve lost millions of jobs since he began his madness. He claims he’s created 600,000 private-sector jobs but fails to tell you he’s lost some 3 million, so the net loss exceeds 2.5 million. He also fails to mention that the only real growth we’ve seen during his reign has been in the public sector — hardly a surprise but completely incongruous with his other speech themes about private-sector entrepreneurship.

–That’s right; with a straight face, he told Las Vegans that “the greatest generator of jobs in America is our private sector. It’s not government.” Though that’s generally true, it’s not been true under his watch, and it’s not what he truly believes, as if I need to tell you that. Oh, sure, he said, “The private sector, not government, is, was and always will be the source of America’s economic success.” But that was before his boast a few minutes later about how his magnanimously bestowed federal grants were jump-starting a new green economy, implying he’d manufactured the magic economic bullet. Green jobs — give me a break. If he wants to talk green, let him explain away The Heritage Foundation’s projection that his “green” cap-and-tax scheme will cause “average annual unemployment to increase by 1.14 million people” from 2011 to 2035.

Obama’s major contributions to the economy are astronomical debt acceleration, obscene unemployment, recession bordering on depression, and business and consumer uncertainty across the board. And this is before Obamacare and his other major tax hikes have even gone into effect. It’s time for him to start being honest, first with himself and then with the American people.