After another mediocre jobs report showing gains barely keeping up with natural labor force growth, Barack Obama rushed to the TV cameras and spiked the football in the end zone. But if there had been referees, he would have been penalized for excessive celebration.
What exactly was the president celebrating? A GDP that grew by 0.8% in the fourth quarter and still has anemic labor-force participation among those in their prime earning years?
A stock market off to one of its worst starts ever, with the S&P 500 already down 10% and the Nasdaq off 15%?
A real unemployment rate, when taking account of the long-term unemployed, that’s close to 10%? Median household income that fell more than $1,000 from 2009 through 2014?
A budget deficit that’s on the rise again and headed back to $1 trillion? Fortune 500 companies leaving America and taking jobs with them because taxes are so high here?
That’s some record of accomplishment. The president trumpets the new job numbers, but he fails to mention that if the pace of job creation in this “recovery” were the same as Reagan’s, we’d have more than 8 million more Americans earning a paycheck today — equal to the entire labor force of Pennsylvania.
Even more remarkable was Obama’s claim that the problem with this economy is “doom and despair” Republicans who keep bad-mouthing this supposedly sizzling growth.
But wait. The people doing the bad-mouthing are the voters, two-thirds of whom think the economy’s on the wrong track. A majority think the American dream is dead and our children won’t be better off than we are. Almost half think the economy’s still in recession.
Is that the Republicans’ fault?
Perhaps for a clearer picture of the economy, Obama should tune in to the Democratic presidential debate.
Bernie Sanders says the economy has been “rigged,” with the gains of the last decade going to only “the richest 1%.” He says ObamaCare isn’t working and the cost of college is killing middle-class families. Hillary Clinton laments that the middle class is falling further behind and that income inequality is getting worse.
If Obama really wants to own this economy, it’s all his.