Just in case you missed the news, it’s official: The recession is over. Or so says the Obama administration media machine, according to the Business Cycle Dating Committee of the National Bureau of Economic Research, or NBER. Actually, it’s been over since June 2009. Yes, you read that right: June 2009!
Is it just me, or did anyone else miss the recovery, too?
What President Obama and his administration are expecting us to believe now is that the recession ended in June 2009, only 18 months after it began in December 2007, according to the NBER report. Granted, don’t wince that the NBER committee of eight (which was actually seven last weekend) made that conclusion on a quick conference call the day before the president’s town hall-type CNBC meeting last week, during which he was defending his failing economic plan. What convenient and coincidental timing!
If the recession ended and recovery began in June 2009, the first problem is: What is that saying about the wisdom and effectiveness of most of the Feds’ borrowing, bailouts and stimulus packages around and especially since that time? According to NBER’s own economic timing conclusions, the Feds’ financial rescues were not only unnecessary because we were already “in recovery,” but they were as useful as a drop of oil in an already well-lubed steamboat engine.
And if the recession were over before stimulus monies were dispersed, then they failed twice. First, they were needlessly borrowed from future generations and foreign countries to stop the recession’s plunge into the abyss – since we were not in a commercial chasm. And second, they failed because the stimulus loans were poised as the remedy to stop the rise of unemployment past 8 percent, which is now 9.7 percent. So in both cases, those federal funds failed.
Just last weekend, Nassim Nicholas Taleb, financial scholar and author of the “The Black Swan,” which the Times described as one of the 12 most influential books since World War II, told a live Montreal audience that Obama’s stimulus solutions actually weakened the national economy: “Obama did exactly the opposite of what should have been done. He surrounded himself with people who exacerbated the problem. You have a person who has cancer and instead of removing the cancer, you give him tranquilizers. When you give tranquilizers to a cancer patient, they feel better but the cancer gets worse.”
And what about the 15 months of America’s economic chaos since June 2009? Have we experienced one iota of the recovery that NBER’s website reports: “the committee determined only that the recession ended and a recovery began in that [June 2009] month.” It further explains, “The trough [in June 2009] marks the end of the declining phase and the start of the rising phase of the business cycle.”
That’s the second major and contradictory problem: Instead of the economy rising like a helium balloon ever since June 2009, it has gone faster downhill than an Olympic bobsled. Or are we to believe that no other economic indicator has any bearing upon that so-called recovery except those determined by NBER’s seven economic minds?
Consider, within the past 15 months since that alleged 2009 gutter-ball economic trough, these few other plummeting financial signs:
* The national unemployment rate is now at 9.7 percent, essentially unchanged from a year earlier.
* At this moment, 13 states have a 10 percent or higher unemployment rate – with Nevada leading the way at 14.1 percent, followed by Michigan at 13.1 percent California at 12.4 percent, Rhode Island at 11.8 percent and Florida at 11.7 percent.
* In August, 27 states recorded unemployment rate increases. In July, it increased in only 14 states.
* In August, employers took 1,546 mass layoff actions involving 150,192 workers.
* The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris concludes that the U.S. unemployment rate will not fall to pre-recession levels until at least 2013.
* One in 10 homeowners face foreclosure – with 9.9 percent of homeowners behind at least one mortgage payment.
* The U.S. Commerce Department reported that new home sales fell 12.4 percent in July, the slowest pace on record dating back to 1963.
* The National Association of Realtors said existing home sales from June 2010 dropped a record 27.2 percent to an annual rate of 3.83 million units, the lowest level since May 1995.
* Foreclosures are up 4 percent, with more than 300,000 filings for foreclosure each of the last 17 months – and a record 24.5 percent increase in foreclosures in July alone.
* Of the $1.4 trillion of commercial real-estate debt coming due by the end of 2014, roughly 52 percent is attached to properties that are underwater.
* In 2009, a record number of one in seven people in the U.S. (roughly 45 million) were considered in poverty – the highest single-year increase since the government started calculating poverty figures in 1959.
* Forty-five percent of 401k participants who took a hardship withdrawal in 2009, also took another one in 2010.
* And as I pointed out in Part 1 of my economic series, according to the Bureau of Public Debt, as of Aug. 20, 2010, after just the 19 months of Obama’s four-year term, the public debt has grown to $8.8333 trillion, an increase of $2.5260 trillion.
* And according to the Congressional Budget Office, or CBO, analysis released on Sept. 7, by the end of the current fiscal 2010 year, which ends with the closure of this month, there will be another deficit of at least $1.3 trillion – what the CBO labeled, “the second-largest shortfall in the past 65 years,” second to last year’s deficit of 9.9 percent of GDP.
Sounds and feels like recovery to me, doesn’t it to you, Homer?
White House Press Secretary Gibbs recently said that the economy hasn’t been stronger in the past two years than it is now. He couldn’t be more dead wrong. The unemployment rate in 2008 was 6.1 percent – it’s now 9.7 percent. The median home price was $237,000 in 2008 – it’s now $204K. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was 11,500 in 2008 – it’s now 10,700. The $700 billion TARP program, the $862 billion stimulus, the health-care takeover and various spending by the feds under the guise of financial reform haven’t “saved or created” 3.8 million jobs – but they have placed $3 trillion more debt upon the heads of your children and children’s children!
Of course, the NBER committee gave itself an out just in case its economic forecasting was incorrect, by concluding with these remarks: “The committee decided that any future downturn of the economy would be a new recession and not a continuation of the recession that began in December 2007.”
So I guess if one considers all the above economic bullets, according to NBER, we’re already in a double-dip, second economic recession! Looks like Obama’s problems have just been compounded.
Have no fear: The double-dip recession is here! If all of us missed the end of the recession and the beginning of the recovery in June 2009, is it possible we’ve also missed the beginning of the double-dip recession?
That is exactly why I believe Obama’s “next plan” to bailout our economy will put the U.S. in a double-dip double jeopardy, because it is just more of the same. He said it himself in that CNBC town hall-type meeting a week ago: “The only thing that we’ve said is that we’ve got to make sure that we’re not doing some of the same things that we were doing in the past that got into this mess in the first place.”
The problem is: That is exactly what the Obama administration has done and continues to do.
In two major speeches and a press conference a couple weeks ago, Obama proposed to jumpstart the economy (again) if Republicans would wake up and pass his $30 billion small-business lending bill stalled in the Senate and back his $50 billion additional second-round spending for infrastructure (added to the nearly $230 billion already allocated in the original trillion-dollar stimulus law for infrastructure), etc. Borrow-bail-borrow-bail-borrow-bail! Doesn’t this administration know any other economic way?
The fact is, Obama entered office with no executive experience, and his business plan to get our economy out of hock has been a miserable failure. Failure is his greatest accomplishment.
And the greatest of those failures has been steeping our country desperately further into a “trough” as NBER defines it – i.e. debt and dependency upon other countries like China. Since Obama has taken office, our national debt level has raised 26 percent – roughly $3 trillion. By any corporate standard, this administration is helplessly incompetent.
The economy is gasping for air, and Obama and his administration are covering their mouths.
The question is: Will the American public continue to buy Obama’s economic “hope and change” (which is more like “horror and pocket change”)? Fifty-six percent and climbing are saying they no longer want the hopeless change the White House is dishing out. Only 42 percent of Americans now approve of Obama’s overall job performance as president.
Case in point: Back at that town hall-type CNBC meeting last week, it must have been one of the longest hours of Obama’s political career as he defended his economic policies while being hammered by citizens from every stratum of our economic society. They included a Home Depot executive, a hedge-fund manager and former Obama classmate, a law-school graduate, the unemployed and many others. It was not a pretty evening for presidential ratings or replies.
The coup de grace came when the chief financial officer of AmVets, a veterans organization, who was also respectively an African-American woman, Mrs. Velma Hart, stood to her feet to address the president. By the time she was done, you could hear a pin drop – and, I should add, I’m sure the president only wished he were the size of a pin and could disappear from site.
Her words were wise and timely: “I’m one of your middle-class Americans, and quite frankly I’m exhausted of defending you, defending your administration, defending the mantle of change that I voted for. I’m deeply disappointed with where we are right now. I have been told that I voted for a man who said he was going to change things in a meaningful way for the middle class. I’m one of those people. And I’m waiting sir, I’m waiting. I – I don’t feel it yet. … I’m a mother. I’m a wife. I’m an American veteran, and I’m one of your middle-class Americans. … My husband and I have joked for years that we thought we were well beyond the hot dogs-and-beans era of our lives. But, quite frankly, it is starting to knock on our door and ring true that that might be where we are headed again.”
Needless to say, when Mrs. Hart was done speaking, the president was schooled, humbled and struggled to find words to rebut, let alone encourage.
She even silenced pro-Obama comedian news commentator Jon Stewart on his “Comedy Central” show a few days later. Having shown the clip of Mrs. Hart’s diatribe, Stewart labeled her “Obama’s kryptonite” and the “perfect Obama zapping machine.” Lacking for pro-Obama comic material, Stewart gave evidence to her words by playing a video string of broken promises from the very mouth of Obama over the past couple years.
He then likened Mrs. Hart’s representative disappointment of Obama to the purchase and disenchanting reception of an overly exaggerated infomercial product.
Most telling, however, was what sounded like Stewart’s own concluding contrite and sincere confession of displeasure with Obama: “I guess what I’m saying, Mr. President is, I don’t know who’s to blame: You, for making this s–t look so good, or us for believing it.”
I couldn’t have said it better.
Chuck Norris for WND