To listen to Barack Obama, Americans live in a liberal paradise—a robust recovery boasting 74 consecutive months of jobs growth and a federal government focused on promoting social justice.
For those employed in the liberal industrial complex—the media, universities and political consultants advising Democratic candidates—it’s all true. After all, it’s time for Hillary, so how could Americans not be enjoying a robust economy!
Sadly, it simply isn’t so. Family incomes are down about $1,600 on Obama’s watch, whereas they rose by $4,800 during the Reagan years with a very different governing philosophy.
Tune in to Friday’s jobs report to see why.
Family incomes are down about $1,600 on Obama’s watch, whereas they rose by $4,800 during the Reagan years with a very different governing philosophy. Tune in to Friday’s jobs report to see why.
Economists are expecting the Labor Department to report the economy added a paltry 158,000 new positions in May. The liberal media will paint it up as strong progress but monthly job gains have been trending down since 2014, and Ronald Reagan accomplished about twice the jobs and GDP growth during his recovery.
Consumers are spending again and second quarter GDP growth appears to be strong, but businesses have good reason to make do with the workers they have. Liberal meddling has created disincentives that make hiring and investing in America tough.
During the Obama years, laxer eligibility requirements for Medicaid and food stamps, fraudulent Social Security pensions, Obamacare subsidies and the like have boosted transfer payments $560 billion. For low income families, sending a second adult to work or training for a higher paying position imposes a 50 to 80 percent penalty from additional taxes and lost benefits.
For those folks the most reasonable self-improvement strategy is to stuff envelopes for Hillary.
Big corporations and small businesses alike are burdened under a crushing increase in government regulations and the highest taxes on profits in the industrialized world. And in those other places, the government pays for health care, whereas businesses here face new, tougher Obamacare mandates that don’t count in those tax comparisons.
Remember, beating down business is just the flip side of social justice.
Clinton promises an even tougher tax regime—penalties on businesses that don’t make what the government deems to be “smart” investments and exit taxes for companies that move operations abroad—and to further buildout Obamacare.
Business greed can’t be blamed when Carrier or Nabisco move jobs to Mexico or when Apple puts $1 billion in a Chinese partner to help it develop driverless cars. They are behaving as rationally as immigrants streaming from Syria into Europe—getting out while the getting’s still good.
Even when businesses invest here, they face formidable barriers to finding workers with the right skills. Obama and friendly governors in states like New York and California have been pushing as much of their budgets as possible into various forms of welfare by shorting universities and infrastructure.
Those politicians constantly urge young people to pursue social and environmental justice. When was the last time you heard the president or Governors Brown or Cuomo talk to young people about the value to America of choosing a career in material science or engineering?
Giving out half-baked diplomas in anti-capitalism and anti-Americanism—a.k.a. the liberal arts—is generally what university faculty like to do anyway. No surprise four in ten college graduates lack the critical thinking skills to be an entry level manager or attend a professional school, and businesses face enormous difficulties finding skilled workers.
The social indicators are all about us—the middle class is shrinking, suicides and drug abuse are up, fertility has dropped precipitously, millions of college graduates are stuck at places like Starbucks, and home ownership is at a 48 year low.
So Friday afternoon, when the president boasts the jobs report is another thrilling landmark on the road to prosperity, it’s OK. Life in America is still better than in Mali.
Peter Morici served as Chief Economist at the U.S. International Trade Commission from 1993 to 1995. He is an economist and professor at the Smith School of Business, University of Maryland.