In his weekly address on Friday, President Obama played down May's terrible unemployment numbers as mere "bumps on the road to recovery" and blamed America's latest economic woes on high gas prices (which he can do something about, but hasn't), the earthquake in Japan, and "unease about the European fiscal situation." Meanwhile, his chief economic adviser, Austan Goolsbee, parroted his boss's "bumps on the road" line and, on Sunday, told America not to worry about the jobs report, remarking, "Don't bank too much of any one month's jobs report. You want to look at a little bit of a trend to get a more accurate barometer." Goolsbee announced his resignation yesterday.
No matter the barometer you look at, things aren't looking good for the economy. On top of May's jobs numbers, America's economic growth is likewise depressing. The Wall Street Journal compares today's measly 2 percent economic growth with that of the Reagan recovery following the 1981-82 recession, which saw a 7 percent growth rate and a plunging unemployment rate.
And it looks like even if Americans are hearing President Obama's message, they're not buying it. According to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, they're not happy with where America is headed, they see the economy as a major problem, and they think President Obama is doing a terrible job managing the problem:
By 2 to 1, Americans say the country is pretty seriously on the wrong track, and nine in 10 continue to rate the economy in negative terms. Nearly six in 10 say the economy has not started to recover, regardless of what official statistics may say, and most of those who say it has improved rate the recovery as weak . . .
Overall, about six in 10 of those surveyed give Obama negative marks on the economy and the deficit. Significantly, nearly half strongly disapprove of his performance in these two crucial areas. Nearly two-thirds of political independents disapprove of the president’s handling of the economy, including — for the first time — a slim majority who do so strongly.
Americans are right to be worried about the economy, and they're placing the blame in the correct spot. Heritage's Rea Hederman, Jr., and James Sherk write that the state of the economy is, indeed, depressing, and that President's policies have done nothing to lift the economy out of its flat spin:
The Obama Administration’s economic policy has been a total failure with its complete disregard for businesses and job creation in the private sector. The Administration’s reliance on government spending and government experts to manage the economy has resulted in a labor market that is not recovering and a national debt that is at a crisis point. Congress needs to unshackle entrepreneurs and businesses from the stifling regulations and burdens that have been created in the past two years.
Lest we forget history, Hederman and Sherk remind us what the President has done to allow the weak business climate to fester. It all comes down to Obama's single-minded drive to grow government at all costs under the delusion that mighty Washington can stimulate the economy into putting bread and butter on America's tables. There was his $787 billion stimulus, Obamacare and its bevy of costly regulations, an ongoing attempt to foist unionization on private industry, opposition to domestic energy production, and a refusal to approve trade agreements, leaving new business opportunities and tens of thousands of jobs on the table. It didn't work.
Those policies all satisfy the President's hunger to put up points on his ideological scoreboard, but Americans are losing out as a result.
The National Journal's Charlie Cook points out: "Within the first six months or even a year of a new administration, it's fair game to blame predecessors for any problems . . . But such arguments get much less convincing as the second year comes to an end. Once into the third year, such claims sound downright silly. Gradually, any president and any administration take ownership of the problems facing the country."