There is no chance our economy will get any better if this administration won’t acknowledge the truth. In that regard, I was discouraged by Vice President Biden’s speech at George Washington University on Monday, which was billed as the launch of the Democrats’ economic argument against Republicans ahead of the 2014 elections. Well, Joe Biden sounded more like an Occupy protestor than one of the central architects of the economic policies that have been promulgated in America for the last six years. And for Biden to bemoan income inequality is beyond insincere; it doesn’t pass the laugh test. The one dominant feature of the Obama-era economy has been the enrichment of Wall Street, via the Federal Reserve.
Today, the Post’s Fact Checker, Glenn Kessler, ably explained how the vice president’s assertions that “the disparity in income growth is entirely caused by Republican presidents and policies” were “misleading.” Kessler is far too graceful to call it a delusional whopper.
And oh, by the way, it was remarkably poor planning that Biden gave that speech just days before this morning’s Bureau of Economic Analysis announcement that GDP growth in the first quarter of 2014 was just 0.1 percent.
But while we’re on the topic of honestly assessing the economy, let’s acknowledge that the mountain of debt, which has grown by almost 70 percent under President Obama, is one of the factors dragging down our economy. This administration is trying to take credit for and herald the “falling budget deficit.” Well, it’s underreported in Washington — because it’s boring and it hasn’t produced an economic calamity yet — but here are the facts about the so-called “falling budget deficit.” The six budget deficits under Obama are the six highest budget deficits in history. Six for six! In 2009, the deficit under Obama was more than $1.4 trillion. In fact, we saw deficits of more than a trillion dollars from 2009 through 2012. Now that the deficit is back in the hundreds of billions, the Democrats deny we have a government-overspending problem. But this year’s budget deficit – the smallest under Obama – is still higher than any in American history under any president not named Obama.
I have always said that Obama specifically and Democrats generally don’t have any problems that a few quarters of 4 percent GDP growth wouldn’t solve. But they have to want to make it happen. Instead, the Democrats are pursuing low-growth, job-killing policies, from the bogus minimum wage debate to the new efforts to take payroll decisions (such as overtime requirements) away from the private sector; to the passionate desire to gratuitously raise everybody’s power bill on behalf of the global warming crusade and the open hostility toward the private sector memorialized by the classic Obama quote, “You didn’t build that.” The only thing that’s up in the Obama economy is dependency on the government.
The trajectory of the American economy is baked in for the 2014 elections. Given the Democrats’ refusal to approve the Keystone XL pipeline and their insistence on pursuing harmful economic policies, nothing will happen between now and November that could help them. Their only option is to try and convince voters that the economy is recovering, no matter what the data says. And if you don’t believe the economy is okay, well, they want you to believe they aren’t to blame. Their denial and delusional economic happy talk is deceitful and destructive, and it only makes our problems worse.
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