Posts Tagged ‘Henry Morganthau’

FDR’s Economic Policies FAILED. But Don’t Take My Word For It, Listen To Obama’s TOP Economic Adviser

August 11, 2011

Everyone ought to be familiar with the words of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Treasury Secretary:

“We have tried spending money. We are spending more than we have ever spent before and it does not work. And I have just one interest, and if I am wrong … somebody else can have my job. I want to see this country prosperous. I want to see people get a job. I want to see people get enough to eat. We have never made good on our promises… I say after eight years of this Administration we have just as much unemployment as when we started… And an enormous debt to boot!” – Henry Morganthau, FDR’s Treasury Secretary, May 1939

And for the record, in April 1939, the unemployment rate was 20.7%.  Anybody who thinks that FDR’s policies did anything but dig us deeper into depression are morons.

But few Americans have ever heard those words from that FDR economic official.  It’s an example of the kind of thing the mainstream media – or what should more accurately be called the progressive propaganda conspiracy – is designed to prevent you from knowing.  They regard themselves as “gatekeepers” of the news, and they want to be able to decide what you get to know and what you should not know.

If you knew that FDR’s very own Treasury Secretary had openly admitted that FDR’s economic policy had failed, you would probably not want to try that path again.  And the mainstream media – which is firmly under the control of the liberal/progressive/socialist/Democrat agenda – simply doesn’t want you to come to such an accurate and informed opinion.

So it really shouldn’t surprise me very much that I was unaware of the words of “President Barack Obama’s top economic adviser,” Lawrence H. Summers, on the economic policies of FDR:

Larry Summers blasphemy: Hitler saved FDR’s ass
by Lee on July 23, 2011 21:16 pm

Larry Summers is often quotable and Charlie Rose is occasionally watchable. Put ‘em together and you get the very definition of a blind sow finding an acorn.

The whole clip is interesting, but the money quote begins a hair after the 21:30 mark when Summers says something about left wing icon FDR that will undoubtedly result in fewer dinner invitations in the Hamptons this summer:

“Never forget, never forget, and I think it’s very important for Democrats especially to remember this, that if Hitler had not come along, Franklin Roosevelt would have left office in 1941 with an unemployment rate in excess of 15 percent and an economic recovery strategy that had basically failed.”

Why next thing you know Summers will be saying that Keynesian economics don’t work.

Clip here to watch the video: CharlieRose.com

Pardon me?

Nope.  I read it right.

After eight years of miserable failure, FDR would have and should have left office as a disgrace with a disastrous unemployment rate.  But Adolf Hitler bailed him out.  And the country rallied around their president – no matter how much or how badly he had failed them.

And the mainstream media decided it was unimportant that we know that – in spite of the fact that Obama had cast himself as the economic reincarnation of FDR:

It ought to interest the American people that FDR prolonged the Great Depression by seven completely unnecessary years of miserable anguish and suffering:

FDR’s policies prolonged Depression by 7 years, UCLA economists calculate
ByMeg Sullivan
8/10/2004 12:23:12 PM

Two UCLA economists say they have figured out why the Great Depression dragged on for almost 15 years, and they blame a suspect previously thought to be beyond reproach: President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

After scrutinizing Roosevelt’s record for four years, Harold L. Cole and Lee E. Ohanian conclude in a new study that New Deal policies signed into law 71 years ago thwarted economic recovery for seven long years.

“Why the Great Depression lasted so long has always been a great mystery, and because we never really knew the reason, we have always worried whether we would have another 10- to 15-year economic slump,” said Ohanian, vice chair of UCLA’s Department of Economics. “We found that a relapse isn’t likely unless lawmakers gum up a recovery with ill-conceived stimulus policies.”

In an article in the August issue of the Journal of Political Economy, Ohanian and Cole blame specific anti-competition and pro-labor measures that Roosevelt promoted and signed into law June 16, 1933.

“President Roosevelt believed that excessive competition was responsible for the Depression by reducing prices and wages, and by extension reducing employment and demand for goods and services,” said Cole, also a UCLA professor of economics. “So he came up with a recovery package that would be unimaginable today, allowing businesses in every industry to collude without the threat of antitrust prosecution and workers to demand salaries about 25 percent above where they ought to have been, given market forces. The economy was poised for a beautiful recovery, but that recovery was stalled by these misguided policies.”

Using data collected in 1929 by the Conference Board and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Cole and Ohanian were able to establish average wages and prices across a range of industries just prior to the Depression. By adjusting for annual increases in productivity, they were able to use the 1929 benchmark to figure out what prices and wages would have been during every year of the Depression had Roosevelt’s policies not gone into effect. They then compared those figures with actual prices and wages as reflected in the Conference Board data.

In the three years following the implementation of Roosevelt’s policies, wages in 11 key industries averaged 25 percent higher than they otherwise would have done, the economists calculate. But unemployment was also 25 percent higher than it should have been, given gains in productivity.

Meanwhile, prices across 19 industries averaged 23 percent above where they should have been, given the state of the economy. With goods and services that much harder for consumers to afford, demand stalled and the gross national product floundered at 27 percent below where it otherwise might have been.

“High wages and high prices in an economic slump run contrary to everything we know about market forces in economic downturns,” Ohanian said. “As we’ve seen in the past several years, salaries and prices fall when unemployment is high. By artificially inflating both, the New Deal policies short-circuited the market’s self-correcting forces.”

The policies were contained in the National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA), which exempted industries from antitrust prosecution if they agreed to enter into collective bargaining agreements that significantly raised wages. Because protection from antitrust prosecution all but ensured higher prices for goods and services, a wide range of industries took the bait, Cole and Ohanian found. By 1934 more than 500 industries, which accounted for nearly 80 percent of private, non-agricultural employment, had entered into the collective bargaining agreements called for under NIRA.

Cole and Ohanian calculate that NIRA and its aftermath account for 60 percent of the weak recovery. Without the policies, they contend that the Depression would have ended in 1936 instead of the year when they believe the slump actually ended: 1943.

Roosevelt’s role in lifting the nation out of the Great Depression has been so revered that Time magazine readers cited it in 1999 when naming him the 20th century’s second-most influential figure.

“This is exciting and valuable research,” said Robert E. Lucas Jr., the 1995 Nobel Laureate in economics, and the John Dewey Distinguished Service Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago. “The prevention and cure of depressions is a central mission of macroeconomics, and if we can’t understand what happened in the 1930s, how can we be sure it won’t happen again?”

NIRA’s role in prolonging the Depression has not been more closely scrutinized because the Supreme Court declared the act unconstitutional within two years of its passage.

“Historians have assumed that the policies didn’t have an impact because they were too short-lived, but the proof is in the pudding,” Ohanian said. “We show that they really did artificially inflate wages and prices.”

Even after being deemed unconstitutional, Roosevelt’s anti-competition policies persisted — albeit under a different guise, the scholars found. Ohanian and Cole painstakingly documented the extent to which the Roosevelt administration looked the other way as industries once protected by NIRA continued to engage in price-fixing practices for four more years.

The number of antitrust cases brought by the Department of Justice fell from an average of 12.5 cases per year during the 1920s to an average of 6.5 cases per year from 1935 to 1938, the scholars found. Collusion had become so widespread that one Department of Interior official complained of receiving identical bids from a protected industry (steel) on 257 different occasions between mid-1935 and mid-1936. The bids were not only identical but also 50 percent higher than foreign steel prices. Without competition, wholesale prices remained inflated, averaging 14 percent higher than they would have been without the troublesome practices, the UCLA economists calculate.

NIRA’s labor provisions, meanwhile, were strengthened in the National Relations Act, signed into law in 1935. As union membership doubled, so did labor’s bargaining power, rising from 14 million strike days in 1936 to about 28 million in 1937. By 1939 wages in protected industries remained 24 percent to 33 percent above where they should have been, based on 1929 figures, Cole and Ohanian calculate. Unemployment persisted. By 1939 the U.S. unemployment rate was 17.2 percent, down somewhat from its 1933 peak of 24.9 percent but still remarkably high. By comparison, in May 2003, the unemployment rate of 6.1 percent was the highest in nine years.

Recovery came only after the Department of Justice dramatically stepped enforcement of antitrust cases nearly four-fold and organized labor suffered a string of setbacks, the economists found.

“The fact that the Depression dragged on for years convinced generations of economists and policy-makers that capitalism could not be trusted to recover from depressions and that significant government intervention was required to achieve good outcomes,” Cole said. “Ironically, our work shows that the recovery would have been very rapid had the government not intervened.”

Don’t you think this would have been highly relevant for the American people to know in 2008 when Obama was running as FDR’s long-lost ideological twin???  I don’t know, maybe Time Magazine (the magazine that eulogized FDR as the bestest and most wonderfulest president ever ever, I noticed from the article above) could have ran this article instead of photoshopping Obama into their socialist hero.

I get so pissed off so often about how utterly dishonest the media is.

I mean, Scott McClellan wrote a book attacking President George W. Bush that I heard about for weeks and weeks in the press in 2008.  It didn’t matter how many lies and half-truths that amounted to whole lies might have been in it; it was anti-Bush; it was NEWS.

But when President Obama’s TOP ECONOMIC ADVISER basically says that Obama’s entire premise for the economy of the United States had already been a documented historical failure – which the prudent person should therefore expect to fail AGAIN – shouldn’t like SOMEBODY have reported that fact???

And now here we are, grinding our national gears and SUFFERING.  We’ve had a massive and massively failed $3.27 TRILLION “stimulus.”  We’ve had an absolutely godawful takeover of the health care system that is frankly so damaging to the economy that half of the 1,372 waivers (as of May 16) were requested by and given to the very liberal unions who had PUSHED FOR OBAMACARE IN THE FIRST PLACE.  We’ve had the absolutely disastrous Dodd-Frank financial regulations that have so stifled investment that EVEN ÜBERLIBERAL FINANCEER GEORGE SOROS said he couldn’t continue operating under such requirements.  We’ve got Obama’s packed National Labor Relations Board basically playing the role of union thug laying a beatdown on Boeing for daring to build a plant in a right-to-work state.

And these FDR-Obama Democrats say, “We’re doing all of this to help the poor.”  And it’s just a LIE.  They HURT the poor.  Over and over again, THEY HURT THE POOR.

Black people have been devastated.  Women have been devastated.  Under Obama, we’re seeing the highest poverty rate increase in fifty years

And the news we’re hearing right now is simply awful.

Manufacturing has tanked.  Consumer spending is the lowest since when we were seeing the panic-side of the “great recession” in October 2008.  The housing crisis is WORSE than – you guessed it – FDR’s Great Depression.  The credit rating agencies are giving the U.S. a negative outlook for the year.  China’s credit rating agency (remember who we borrow from!) just cut our rating for the second time in history – with both times occurring in Obama’s failed presidency.  Food stamp enrollment is at an all-time high, with one in six on the program.

And because we live in an age of constant media deception and propaganda, the news of Obama’s mishandling of the economy is always “unexpected.”

Here we are, déjà vu and voilà, in the worst shape since the LAST time FDR’s policies were poisoning America.  And we don’t learn because the media won’t LET us learn.  But you find out that FDR’s “progressive tax rates” that attacked the rich actually ended up hurting the poor as the rich sheltered their wealth to protect themselves and their families and the poor bore the brunt of economy and employment-killing taxation policies.

Obama is back to the same utterly failed Marxist class warfare tactics that have always failed before. In the 1990s, Democrats imposed a “luxury tax” on items such as yachts, believing that the wealthy “could afford it.” Maybe they could and maybe they couldn’t, but the FACT was that the rich STOPPED buying yachts. As in stopped completely.  As in NOBODY bought a yacht with that damn tax on it. The Democrats finally rescinded that stupid tax two years later after destroying the yacht building and yacht maintenance industries and killing over 100,000 jobs. Rich people weren’t hurt at all; ordinary people were devastated.

And now Obama wants to do the same thing with corporate jets that previous Democrats did to yachts. And they only people who will get hurt if Obama gets his way are the companies that hire people to build and maintain those jets and the workers themselves who will lose their jobs and their livelihoods. And the only thing that is stopping this rape of businesses, workers and the economy that depends on workers and businesses are Republicans – who are trying to do the right thing and make the tough decisions necessary to lead in the face of constant demagoguery.

And people wonder why this economy is struggling, and why it will CONTINUE to struggle until this FDR-clone (or clown?) is finally gone.

Americans Decide They Don’t Want Another Great Depression, Turn To GOP In Greatest Numbers Since 1930

September 9, 2010

Hmmm, do we want to go back to FDR and keep the Great Depression running like a Merry Go Round, or do we want to get off that particular ride?

Apparently, Americans are deciding that they don’t want the next liberal demagogue who will keep the country in a perpetual state of suffering.

GOP Turnout Exceeding Democrats’ For First Time Since 1930
By Ed Carson
Wed., Sept. 08, 2010 3:59 PM ET
Tags: Elections – Republicans – Democrats

Republican primary turnout for statewide offices is outpacing the Democratic vote for the first time since 1930, according to election expert Curtis Gans of the American University.

* The share of Americans voting in GOP primaries hit 10.5%, up from 8.2% in the 2006 primaries and the highest since 1970.

* The share of Americans voting in Democratic primaries was a record low of 8.3%.

* Republican turnout in their statewide primaries exceeded Democratic turnout by over 4 million votes.

A wide variety of polls and individual primaries have pointed to a big Republican enthusiasm gap vs. gloomy Democrats, but this survey offers a comprehensive look at actual voting patterns. “If there is an analagous election, it could be that of 1994, where the Democrats lost massively,” the report says.

The full report is here (pdf).

And you can express it negatively, too:

Study: Democratic turnout for primaries lowest in 80 years

During the 1930s America had King Überüberliberal FDR (at least before Obama came along to strip him of the title), to go along with more Democrats than you could shake a stick at, running and ruining the country.

And no matter how badly FDR and the Democrats in Congress failed, or for how long they kept failing, Americans just kept re-electing them.

Here’s another article about those days:

FDR’s policies prolonged Depression by 7 years, UCLA economists calculate
By Meg Sullivan
8/10/2004 12:23:12 PM

Two UCLA economists say they have figured out why the Great Depression dragged on for almost 15 years, and they blame a suspect previously thought to be beyond reproach: President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

After scrutinizing Roosevelt’s record for four years, Harold L. Cole and Lee E. Ohanian conclude in a new study that New Deal policies signed into law 71 years ago thwarted economic recovery for seven long years.

“Why the Great Depression lasted so long has always been a great mystery, and because we never really knew the reason, we have always worried whether we would have another 10- to 15-year economic slump,” said Ohanian, vice chair of UCLA’s Department of Economics. “We found that a relapse isn’t likely unless lawmakers gum up a recovery with ill-conceived stimulus policies.”

In an article in the August issue of the Journal of Political Economy, Ohanian and Cole blame specific anti-competition and pro-labor measures that Roosevelt promoted and signed into law June 16, 1933.

“President Roosevelt believed that excessive competition was responsible for the Depression by reducing prices and wages, and by extension reducing employment and demand for goods and services,” said Cole, also a UCLA professor of economics. “So he came up with a recovery package that would be unimaginable today, allowing businesses in every industry to collude without the threat of antitrust prosecution and workers to demand salaries about 25 percent above where they ought to have been, given market forces. The economy was poised for a beautiful recovery, but that recovery was stalled by these misguided policies.”

Using data collected in 1929 by the Conference Board and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Cole and Ohanian were able to establish average wages and prices across a range of industries just prior to the Depression. By adjusting for annual increases in productivity, they were able to use the 1929 benchmark to figure out what prices and wages would have been during every year of the Depression had Roosevelt’s policies not gone into effect. They then compared those figures with actual prices and wages as reflected in the Conference Board data.

In the three years following the implementation of Roosevelt’s policies, wages in 11 key industries averaged 25 percent higher than they otherwise would have done, the economists calculate. But unemployment was also 25 percent higher than it should have been, given gains in productivity.

Meanwhile, prices across 19 industries averaged 23 percent above where they should have been, given the state of the economy. With goods and services that much harder for consumers to afford, demand stalled and the gross national product floundered at 27 percent below where it otherwise might have been.

“High wages and high prices in an economic slump run contrary to everything we know about market forces in economic downturns,” Ohanian said. “As we’ve seen in the past several years, salaries and prices fall when unemployment is high. By artificially inflating both, the New Deal policies short-circuited the market’s self-correcting forces.”

The policies were contained in the National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA), which exempted industries from antitrust prosecution if they agreed to enter into collective bargaining agreements that significantly raised wages. Because protection from antitrust prosecution all but ensured higher prices for goods and services, a wide range of industries took the bait, Cole and Ohanian found. By 1934 more than 500 industries, which accounted for nearly 80 percent of private, non-agricultural employment, had entered into the collective bargaining agreements called for under NIRA.

Cole and Ohanian calculate that NIRA and its aftermath account for 60 percent of the weak recovery. Without the policies, they contend that the Depression would have ended in 1936 instead of the year when they believe the slump actually ended: 1943.

Roosevelt’s role in lifting the nation out of the Great Depression has been so revered that Time magazine readers cited it in 1999 when naming him the 20th century’s second-most influential figure.

“This is exciting and valuable research,” said Robert E. Lucas Jr., the 1995 Nobel Laureate in economics, and the John Dewey Distinguished Service Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago. “The prevention and cure of depressions is a central mission of macroeconomics, and if we can’t understand what happened in the 1930s, how can we be sure it won’t happen again?”

NIRA’s role in prolonging the Depression has not been more closely scrutinized because the Supreme Court declared the act unconstitutional within two years of its passage.

“Historians have assumed that the policies didn’t have an impact because they were too short-lived, but the proof is in the pudding,” Ohanian said. “We show that they really did artificially inflate wages and prices.”

Even after being deemed unconstitutional, Roosevelt’s anti-competition policies persisted — albeit under a different guise, the scholars found. Ohanian and Cole painstakingly documented the extent to which the Roosevelt administration looked the other way as industries once protected by NIRA continued to engage in price-fixing practices for four more years.

The number of antitrust cases brought by the Department of Justice fell from an average of 12.5 cases per year during the 1920s to an average of 6.5 cases per year from 1935 to 1938, the scholars found. Collusion had become so widespread that one Department of Interior official complained of receiving identical bids from a protected industry (steel) on 257 different occasions between mid-1935 and mid-1936. The bids were not only identical but also 50 percent higher than foreign steel prices. Without competition, wholesale prices remained inflated, averaging 14 percent higher than they would have been without the troublesome practices, the UCLA economists calculate.

NIRA’s labor provisions, meanwhile, were strengthened in the National Relations Act, signed into law in 1935. As union membership doubled, so did labor’s bargaining power, rising from 14 million strike days in 1936 to about 28 million in 1937. By 1939 wages in protected industries remained 24 percent to 33 percent above where they should have been, based on 1929 figures, Cole and Ohanian calculate. Unemployment persisted. By 1939 the U.S. unemployment rate was 17.2 percent, down somewhat from its 1933 peak of 24.9 percent but still remarkably high. By comparison, in May 2003, the unemployment rate of 6.1 percent was the highest in nine years.

Recovery came only after the Department of Justice dramatically stepped enforcement of antitrust cases nearly four-fold and organized labor suffered a string of setbacks, the economists found.

“The fact that the Depression dragged on for years convinced generations of economists and policy-makers that capitalism could not be trusted to recover from depressions and that significant government intervention was required to achieve good outcomes,” Cole said. “Ironically, our work shows that the recovery would have been very rapid had the government not intervened.”

-UCLA-

LSMS368

One of the greatest indictments of FDR’s legacy comes from FDR’s own Treasury Secretary and closest personal friend:

“We have tried spending money. We are spending more than we have ever spent before and it does not work. And I have just one interest, and if I am wrong… somebody else can have my job. I want to see this country prosperous. I want to see people get a job. I want to see people get enought to eat. We have never made good on our promises… I say after eight years of this Administration we have just as much unemployment as when we started… And an enormous debt to boot!” – Henry Morganthau, FDR’s Treasury Secretary, May 1939

In April 1939, after those two terms in office, unemployment was at 20.7%.  Morganthau was an honest enough man to admit that his and FDR’s policies had utterly failed.  But generations of dishonest liberal propagandist journalists and historians merely ignored Morganthau’s honest and accurate admission and heralded the man who did more to drive America into socialism than anyone until one Barack Hussein Obama stepped onto the scene.

FDR’s failure to do anything but further destroy the American economy becomes critical because Obama has been widely viewed as the 2nd incarnation of FDR.

I mean, the SAME Time Magazine that thought FDR walked on water gave us this cover:

And we don’t want that guy.  He’s the LAST thing we should want.  Because we don’t want to linger in the great misery of the Great Depression for year after year.

And thank God more Americans are realizing the Obama-as-FDR fraud than at any time since FDR came along to lead America into unparalleled misery.

Catastrophic Failure Of Leadership: US Birthrate Falls To Lowest Level In 100 Years

August 30, 2010

Have you heard?  America’s birth rate is lower than at any time in the last last 100 years.

There seems to be something profoundly wrong with Obama’s central message of hope and change.  There is something profoundly wrong with Obama’s “fundamental transformation” of America.

22/08/2010
Recession effect? US birth rate lowest in 100 yrs

Milkwujee [sic]: The US birth rate has dropped for the second year in a row, and experts think the wrenching recession led many people to put off having children. The 2009 birth rate also set a record: lowest in a century. Births fell 2.7 per cent last year even as the population grew, numbers released Friday by the National Center for Health Statistics show.

“It’s a good-sized decline for one year. Every month is showing a decline from the year before,” said Stephanie Ventura, the demographer who oversaw the report. The birth rate, which takes into account changes in the population, fell to 13.5 births for every 1,000 people last year. That’s down from 14.3 in 2007 and way down from 30 in 1909, when it was common for people to have big families. “It doesn’t matter how you look at it — fertility has declined,” Ventura said.

The situation is a striking turnabout from 2007, when more babies were born in the United States than any other year in the nation’s history. The recession began that fall, dragging stocks, jobs and births down. “When the economy is bad and people are uncomfortable about their financial future, they tend to postpone having children. We saw that in the Great Depression the 1930s and we’re seeing that in the Great Recession today,” said Andrew Cherlin, a sociology professor at Johns Hopkins University. “It could take a few years to turn this around,” he added, noting that the birth rate stayed low throughout the 1930s.

As the report shows, it’s actually the lowest in a lot more than a hundred years.  But we’ll go with the lamestream media’s headline.  The REAL news here is that – while the low birthrate is being blamed on the recession – the birthrate is actually lower than it was during the Great Depression years (it was 21.3 births per 100 Americans in 1930, the year AFTER the Depression began).

The birth rate is shockingly down for not one but two years in a row.  Which is contrasted with 2007 (“Miss me yet?”),  when more babies were born to Americans than at any time in our history.  The Democrats under Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid would soon screw that up, however.

And now, Obama has not only crushed “hope” in America, but love as well.

Gotta ask: how’s that “Marxist as Moscow” “hopey changey” thing working out for ya here in “God damn America”?

The media is depicting this frightening news that American can’t replenish it’s population and is now going the way of the Dodo bird to the impact of the recession.  It’s the economy, stupid.  There’s only one problem with that: it wasn’t this bad in the GREAT DEPRESSION.

Now, I remember when Obama was campaigning for office and when he was trying to ram his stimulus – that he said would keep employment under 8% – through a Democrat-owned Congress.  Those were the days when Obama

turned fearmongering into an art form. He has repeatedly raised the specter of another Great Depression. First, he did so to win votes in the November election. He has done so again recently to sway congressional votes for his stimulus package.

In his remarks, every gloomy statistic on the economy becomes a harbinger of doom. As he tells it, today’s economy is the worst since the Great Depression. Without his Recovery and Reinvestment Act, he says, the economy will fall back into that abyss and may never recover.

Obama got his presidency.  He got his massive stimulus boondoggle.  But he poisoned the well of American confidence in doing so.

For all his many failings – such as keeping the Great Depression going for seven years longer with his terrible economic policies – FDR was a man of incredible confidence who gave his people optimism in the future.  “Things are bad for us now,” he essentially said, “But we’ll lick this depression.  You just wait!”  And most Americans, perhaps gullibly given his awful policies, believed him.

Ultimately, FDR’s own Treasury Secretary and close personal friend Henry Morganthau, acknowledged the utter failure of FDR’s economic policies:

“We have tried spending money. We are spending more than we have ever spent before and it does not work. And I have just one interest, and if I am wrong… somebody else can have my job. I want to see this country prosperous. I want to see people get a job. I want to see people get enough to eat. We have never made good on our promises… I say after eight years of this Administration we have just as much unemployment as when we started… And an enormous debt to boot!” – Henry Morganthau, FDR’s Treasury Secretary, May 1939

But at least the people had confidence -however misplaced – in FDR’s leadership.

Unlike Obama, whom they have no confidence in at all.

I have said this many times, and said it quite forcefully hear only a couple of months after Obama assumed office:

At this point, Obama is demonstrating that he cannot lead. And in a way it’s not his fault; there was never anything in his life experience that indicated he could lead. Community organizer? Obscure Illinois State Representative [who used thug tactics to come from nowhere to claim the seat]? One-term Senator (who promised he’d serve his first six-year term but then ran for President after 158 days???)??? [....]

He is a total failure. We don’t have a leader, we just have a guy who campaigns for four years. The country will begin to increasingly drift until we get a real president.

And boy oh boy was I ever right.

Here’s a short list of news reports I came up with that revealed how America was in the grip of disaster while Obama was on vacation gripping a golf club:

Did you notice how many of those new bad news releases reveal terrible numbers that go back decades?  And that things were NEVER this bad when Bush was president?

And here’s the headline that Obama finally comes back from the lap of luxury after his sixth vacation of the year to see:

Record number in government anti-poverty programs

And the story there:

WASHINGTON — Government anti-poverty programs that have grown to meet the needs of recession victims now serve a record one in six Americans and are continuing to expand.

One major problem facing the country is that millions of Americans are glad that Obama is giving them welfare, versus the Americans who would rather have a president who leads the nation as a whole out of poverty and back to prosperity.

It’s not just Obama’s bad economy that is causing Americans to stop having babies and start fading away as a nation; it’s not even his terrible policies that are sustaining that bad economy; it’s his total failure of leadership that is creating this unparalleled lack of confidence in America’s future.

The Dirty Secret About Our Unemployment Rate

January 9, 2010

First of all, did Obama’s stimulus create jobs and help the economy?  I put it this way the other day, while writing an article about how ObamaCare amounts to a profoundly dishonest and secretive scheme to hijack one-sixth of the economy:

It’s rather like the stimulus.  Obama fearmongered the economy to get his $3.27 trillion stimulus-porkulus through Congress.  Obama falsely promised that unemployment wouldn’t go above 8% if it passed.  The legislation was raced through so quickly that no one could have even possibly read it.  Obama has said it was a success, citing the never-before-in-history-seen category of “created or saved jobs.”  But even then, he had to resort to a series of galling lies to sell his giant failed stimulus.  Not only were jobs created out of thin air (Obama claimed that a single lawnmower created 50 jobs through his website!!!) to fraudulently make a failed stimulus appear successful, but phantom congressional districts and even zip codes that don’t exist began to collect huge sums of stimulus money.  Meanwhile, the thoroughly dishonest Obama administration transformed their stimulus into a gigantic Democrat slush fund, with double the money going to Democrat districts and with no regard to unemployment.

The answer is readily obvious.  No, the stimulus didn’t help the economy.  As a solid plurality of Americans now rightly believe, the stimulus HURT the economy.

And they are right.  What we find out when we look at the economies of countries that either had or did not have stimulus packages is that the countries with huge stimulus packages (like the U.S.) had much more unemployment than the countries that didn’t:

As President Obama and other Democrats have correctly pointed out many times, this has been a worldwide recession. But if Summers and Biden are right in their assessment of the stimulus measures, one would think that the U.S. economy should be recovering better the many other countries, countries not wise enough to follow Obama’s lead of an extraordinary $787 billion increase in government spending.  It is also particularly timely to evaluate the spending since Christina Romer, the chairwoman of President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, told Congress today that the stimulus had already had most of its impact on the economy. [...]

But it is not just Canada where the unemployed are faring better. Other countries, too, decided against a massive stimulus plan. In March, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel nodding in agreement at his side, French President Nicolas Sarkozy declared: “the problem is not about spending more.” Later that month, the president of the European Union, Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek of the Czech Republic, castigated the Obama administration’s deficit spending and bank bailouts as “a road to hell.” The Washington Post wrote that there was a “fundamental divide that persists between the United States and many European countries over the best way to respond to the global financial crisis.”

The unemployment rate in the European Union was higher than in the United States to begin with even before the Obama administration’s spending. By January, the EU unemployment rate stood at 8.5 percent — almost a whole percentage point higher than ours.  So what has happened since the big U.S. stimulus spending spree was passed? We more than caught up with the EU’s high unemployment rate.  By August, the last month data is available for the EU, the U.S.’s unemployment rate slightly exceeded the EU’s — 9.7 versus 9.6 percent.

Germany has particularly been out front resisting the call for more public spending.  Yet, from January through September, the German unemployment rate only rose slightly, from 7.9 to 8.2 percent.

Data on unemployment rates from 27 countries from Japan and South Korea to Brazil and other South American countries to Europe shows that from January to August display the same consistent pattern.  Even in the EU it isn’t just a few countries that are driving the relatively small increase they have experienced.  The U.S. had a larger increase in unemployment than 22 countries — that is, 81 percent of the countries had a smaller increase in unemployment this year than the United States. Unemployment in some major countries such as Brazil and Russia has actually fallen since January (see Table here).  Other countries, from France to Mexico to Australia to Switzerland, have seen unemployment increase by only about half the amount of the U.S. rate. Indeed, the average increase in unemployment for the 27 countries is slightly less than half the US increase.

The article should be read in its entirety to see just how powerful the evidence is that the stimulus failed.

In other words, to the extent that there has been any improvement in the economy, it has been in spite of – and VERY CLEARLY NOT because of – the stimulus.

And one of the most frightening things we have in the wake of the failed Obama stimulus is shockingly high unemployment levels.  The Obama White House said that if Obama’s stimulus wasn’t passed unemployment would rise to 9% (it was 7.6% when Obama took office; and the Obama White house said it would remain under 8% if the stimulus was passed).  But it didn’t, did it?

Thus we come to Obama’s dirty little secret of unemployment:

Unemployment: The Dirty Little Secret Everyone’s Ignoring

By John Lott – FOXNews.com

The problem of people getting discouraged and giving up looking for work is ballooning.

The unemployment rate might be stuck at 10 percent, but the more detailed numbers in the Department of Labor’s Household survey data paint a more dire picture. The number of people with a job fell by 589,000 in December. Even worse, the number of people not in the labor force grew by an astounding 843,000 during just the last month. The Household survey data is what is used to measure the unemployment rate.

To get an idea of the size of this increase in the number of people not in the labor force, since February, when the stimulus package was passed, I repeat, the number of people not in the labor force has grown by 3.2 million. But the number for December represents 26 percent of the entire increase over that period of time. The problem of people getting discouraged and giving up looking for work is ballooning. Of course, they have had good reasons to be discouraged. Similarly since February, the total number of people employed has fallen by 4 million.

In September, Larry Summers, President Obama’s top economic adviser, claimed: “We have walked a substantial distance back from the economic abyss and are on the path toward economic recovery. Most importantly, we have seen a substantial change in the trend of job loss.” Christina Romer, the chair of President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, made a similar statement today. While conceding that the December numbers were a “slight setback,” she argued: “In a broad sense the trend toward moderating job loss is continuing, consistent with the gradual labor market stabilization we have been seeing over the last several months.”

The growth in the U.S. unemployment rate has continued to outpace the rest of the world. Since February, the average unemployment rate for the European Union has grown by 1.2 percentage points. By contrast, the US unemployment rate has grown by 1.9 percentage points — a 58 percent greater increase. Nor does the rate look particularly strong compared to what economists were predicting at the beginning of the year. Back in mid-January, business economists and forecasters surveyed by The Wall Street Journal expected the December unemployment rate to be at 8.6 percent.

Unemployment should start to improve, but the numbers indicate that the improvement in unemployment that economists and forecasters were predicting has occurred much more slowly than was expected at the beginning of 2009. By moving huge amounts of money from one industry to another, the stimulus as well as all the regulatory changes have caused a lot of churning in the labor market — movement of people from one job to another than has caused temporary unemployment. Unfortunately, the huge number of people who have withdrawn from the labor force represent a big hangover that will make reducing unemployment a slow process.

The “unexpected” (the lamestream media always naively expects good news when Democrats are in charge) and disappointing December job numbers released yesterday have more economists worrying about a double-dip recession.  We lost jobs even during the Christmas temp hiring frenzy, which will force the federal reserve to keep interest rates artificially low, which will have a negative impact on our economy down the road.

Obama could care less about the millions of workers who have despaired of finding a job to the point where they don’t even bother to look for work any more, because those people fall off out of the measurement categories.  If you consider them, unemployment is now at 17.3%.

Let me introduce you to an economist who – unlike so many others – was correct in her prediction of the economic meltdown: Meredith Whitney.

Unemployment is likely to rise to 13 percent or higher and will weigh on the economy for several years, countering government efforts to stabilize the banking industry, analyst Meredith Whitney told CNBC. [...]

“We underestimate how much the whole economy is dependent on the mortgage industry, and that has to change,” Whitney said. “This is what happens when you delay the inevitable. We’re buying time here, but we’re not restructuring the economy.”

Not only has Obama failed to improve the mortgage industry, but what he has done has actually made the system WORSE, even according to the left.  I mean, even the New York Times has said Obama’s solutions are adding to the housing woes.  The first paragraph of their article said:

The Obama administration’s $75 billion program to protect homeowners from foreclosure has been widely pronounced a disappointment, and some economists and real estate experts now contend it has done more harm than good.

To serve as an ironic reminder of Obama’s message of “hope and change,” here’s a recent Business Insider article entitled, “How Obama’s Mortgage Modifications Are Making Things Worse By Giving Desperate Homeowners A False Sense Of Hope.”

Well, Obama promised hope.  If you were dumb enough to believe his promises had any reality, then doom on you.

And it isn’t any better for residential mortgages:

(June 9) – Commercial real estate mortgage defaults are at a 15-year high and will more than double by the end of 2010, according to a new report from research firm Real Estate Econometrics (REE).

And again:

NEW YORK, Jan 7 (Reuters) – U.S. commercial mortgage-backed bond defaults may more than double this year as the economic recession hurts office building, retail store and multifamily housing assets, Fitch Ratings said on Wednesday.

It was the mortgage industry – imploded by Democrats – that caused the economic implosion of 2008.  And our failure-in-chief hasn’t done a damned thing to make that industry better.  All he’s given, characteristic of his entire presidency, is false hope.

And now we’re looking at a double dip for the housing and mortgage industries, as well.

One day, years from now, an honest Obama administration official (if there is one) will be saying something similar to FDR’s Treasury Secretary:

“We have tried spending money. We are spending more than we have ever spent before and it does not work. And I have just one interest, and if I am wrong… somebody else can have my job. I want to see this country prosperous. I want to see people get a job. I want to see people get enough to eat. We have never made good on our promises… I say after eight years of this Administration we have just as much unemployment as when we started… And an enormous debt to boot!” – Henry Morganthau, FDR’s Treasury Secretary, May 1939

In April 1939, six years after FDR rolled out his failed New Deal, unemployment was still at 20.7%.

We are now only 3.4 percentage points away from Treasury Secretary Henry Morganthau’s moment of clarity.

With Eyes Finally Wide-Open, Reconsider Why The Economy Collapsed In The First Place

December 31, 2009

We are now able to see that from the very beginning of the Obama administration, the Republican Party has again and again demonstrated that they were completely right and Democrats were completely wrong.  Whether you look at the stimulus, cap-and-trade, bogus climate change claims, health care, or terrorism, Americans now solidly agree that Republicans were represent the people; and that Democrats do NOT represent the people.

Right now, a solid plurality of Americans thinks the stimulus (that 99% of Republicans voted against) harmed the economy.  And the people are starting to realize what an ideological partisan slush fund the stimulus was (also predicted by Republicans).

When Obama was elected, unemployment was at 6.6%.  He promised that his stimulus would prevent unemployment from reaching 8%.  And now it’s at 10%, and it’s going to get higher.

Obama demagogued Bush’s spending.  But Bush deficits -bad as they were – were only 2-3% of GDP.  Obama’s deficits are 12.8% of GDP – which is five to six times higher.

Now that your eyes are finally beginning to open wide and see Obama and the Democrats for who and what they truly are, let me point out a few things about the past collapse.

What Americans – and particularly Americans who actually vote – need to realize is that Democrats were trying to do this kind of crap and play these kind of games all along.  They were trying to do it throughout the Bush years, when George Bush tried 17 times to regulate the out of control and Fannie-Mac-and-Freddie-Mae-dominated housing mortgage markets – and Democrats thwarted him over and over again.

Why do I mention the Government Supported Enterprises (GSEs) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac?  Because they were at the very heart of the mortgage meltdown.

The LA Times writes on May 31, 1999 that:

Lenders also have opened the door wider to minorities because of new initiatives at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac–the giant federally chartered corporations that play critical, if obscure, roles in the home finance system. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac buy mortgages from lenders and bundle them into securities; that provides lenders the funds to lend more. . . .

LaVaughn M. Henry, Ph.D. Director, U.S. Economic Analysis The PMI Group, Inc. December 9, 2008, pointed out:

The Role of the GSEs is to provide liquidity and stability to the U.S. housing and mortgage markets. Step 1 Banks lend money to Households to purchase and refinance home mortgages Step 2 The GSEs purchase these mortgage from the banks Step 3 GSEs bundle the mortgages into mortgage-backed securities Step 4 GSEs sell mortgage-backed and debt securities to domestic and international capital investors Step 5 Investors pay GSEs for purchase of debt and securities Step 6 GSEs return funds to banks to lend out again for the issuance of new mortgage loans.

It was steps 3-5 that messed us up.  Fannie and Freddie bought mortgages – including many mortgages that poor and minority homeowners couldn’t begin to afford under the mandate of the Community Reinvestment Act – bundled them such that no one could assess their risk, and then sold them to private companies such as Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers.  Fannie and Freddie were exempt from SEC [Securities and Exchange Commission] regulations.   The GSEs could bundle up mortgages, which would then be rated AAA, with no requirement to make clear what was in the bundle.  Private companies believed that the bundled securities were guaranteed, since they were essentially being sold by the federal government.

But there were many who predicted that this system – created and maintained by Democrats – could explode.

From the New York Times in September 30, 1999:

In moving, even tentatively, into this new area of lending, Fannie Mae is taking on significantly more risk, which may not pose any difficulties during flush economic times. But the government-subsidized corporation may run into trouble in an economic downturn, prompting a government rescue similar to that of the savings and loan industry in the 1980’s.“

”From the perspective of many people, including me, this is another thrift industry growing up around us,”
said Peter Wallison a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. ”If they fail, the government will have to step up and bail them out the way it stepped up and bailed out the thrift industry.” . . .

And that is precisely what happened.  There was a downturn (and there will ALWAYS be downturns, won’t there?), and Fannie and Freddie were so leveraged that they collapsed and caused the collapse of the entire industry.  Financial experts anxiously pointed out that a decline of only 1.3% would bankrupt Fannie and Freddie because they were leveraged to the tune of 60%? to 78%.

Democrats were the priests and acolytes of the GSE system.  They protected it, and they were the ones who pressed all the buttons and pulled all the levers.

Keven Hasset concludes an article titled, “How the Democrats Created the Financial Crisis“, concludes by saying:

Now that the collapse has occurred, the roadblock built by Senate Democrats in 2005 is unforgivable. Many who opposed the bill doubtlessly did so for honorable reasons.  Fannie and Freddie provided mounds of materials defending their practices.  Perhaps some found their propaganda convincing.

Watch this video showing how Goerge Bush and John McCain repeatedly warned of the economic collapse (length=4 min):

Watch this video of Democrats protecting and covering for Fannie Mae (length=8 min):

Here’s a video entitled “Burning Down the House: What Caused Our Economic Crisis?” (length=11 min)

And then we find that Barack Obama was in bed with Fannie and Freddie and their shockingly risky policies:

Who really exploded the economy in 2008, liberals or conservatives? Who do you think?  The liberal mainstream media allowed Democrats to blame George Bush simply because he was president at the time, never mentioning that the Democrats who controlled both the House and the Senate relentlessly opposed everything Bush tried to do; and it allowed Democrats to not have to account for the fact that they’d been in complete control of both the House and the Senate.  But remember that the economy went from outstanding to collapsed during the two years (2006-2008) that the Congress was under Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid.  The unemployment rate was 4.4% when Republicans last ran Congress.  What is it now, three years of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid later?

Few people understand how huge Fannie and Freddie are, or how deeply burrowed they are in the mortgage industry.  But let me put it to you this way: the federal government now underwrites 9 out of 10 residential mortgages.

John McCain tried to warn us in 2006:

I join as a cosponsor of the Federal Housing Enterprise Regulatory Reform Act of 2005, S. 190, to underscore my support for quick passage of GSE regulatory reform legislation. If Congress does not act, American taxpayers will continue to be exposed to the enormous risk that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac pose to the housing market, the overall financial system, and the economy as a whole.

But he was ignored.

When George Bush first tried to regulate an already out-of-control liberal bastion of Fannie and Freddie, Barney Frank led the united Democrat opposition and said:

”These two entities — Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — are not facing any kind of financial crisis,” said Representative Barney Frank of Massachusetts, the ranking Democrat on the Financial Services Committee. ”The more people exaggerate these problems, the more pressure there is on these companies, the less we will see in terms of affordable housing.”

And just before Fannie and Freddie collapsed and brought down the entire housing mortgage industry with it creating the economic meltdown, Barney Frank – continuing to stop any regulation of Fannie and Freddie – said this:

REP. BARNEY FRANK, D-MASS.: I think this is a case where Fannie and Freddie are fundamentally sound, that they are not in danger of going under. They’re not the best investments these days from the long-term standpoint going back. I think they are in good shape going forward.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac went completely bankrupt, and had to be bailed out by the government.  It had been Fannie and Freddie which had the sole authority to buy mortgages, bundle them into the mortgage-backed securities which ultimately exploded, and sell those securities to private companies (as I have already shown).  Just as it was Fannie and Freddie which had been the seller of subprime loans.

Democrats demonized and demagogued Republicans by blaming them for a mess that DEMOCRATS created.  And Republicans were to blame primarily because they didn’t do enough to stand up and courageously oppose the disaster that Democrats had created

A couple weeks ago the New York Times reported that Fannie and Freddie would get a whopping $800 billion to cover losses incurred under the Obama administration (and see another article on this $800 billion fiasco here):

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which buy and resell mortgages, have used $112 billion — including $15 billion for Fannie in November — of a total $400 billion pledge from the Treasury. Now, according to people close to the talks, officials are discussing the possibility of increasing that commitment, possibly to $400 billion for each company, by year-end, after which the Treasury would need Congressional approval to extend it. Company and government officials declined to comment.

But it turned out that that was wrong.  Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac weren’t going to get $800 billion.  That won’t be nearly enough.  They are going to get an unlimited amount of funding (potentially in the trillions):

From the Wall Street Journal, December 26, 2009:

The Obama administration’s decision to cover an unlimited amount of losses at the mortgage-finance giants Fannie MaeFreddie Mac over the next three years and stirred controversy over the holiday.

A Newsbuster article, entitled, “Relief Without Limits,” provides an excellent resource of facts and commentary on this incredible and terrifying development.

Remember the righteous outrage of Democrats and the Obama administration over the compensation of CEOs of private banks?  The Democrats don’t seem to mind when Fannie and Freddie execs get huge compensation packages.

The monster rises yet again, and larger and uglier and more dangerous than it has ever been before.  And just like the first time it collapsed, Democrats are in total control of it.  Fannie and Freddie stock went up significantly as the news was announced.  Watch it dwindle back to zero by the end of 2010.

We’re facing another tsunami of foreclosures in 2010.  And three mortgages get worse for every single one that improves.

And even uber-liberal sources like the Huffington Post are acknowledging that Obama’s policies have utterly failed:

Anatomy of a Failed Foreclosure Program (dated 12-07-09)

Just how badly is President Obama’s $75 billion foreclosure program working out? Consider these newly-released numbers: Out of every 100 homeowners who came to JPMorgan Chase for help under the program, just 15 have or will likely receive a permanent payment reduction.

What happened to the other 85? For every 100 trial plans initiated from April through September 2009 under the Home Affordable Modification Program:

  • 29 borrowers did not make all required payments under their trial plan;
  • 20 borrowers did not submit all documents required for underwriting;
  • 31 borrowers submitted all required documents but the documents did not meet HAMP underwriting standards, due to such things as missing signatures or nonstandard formats;
  • 4 borrowers were or are likely to be rejected for undisclosed reasons;
  • 1 borrower will not or is not likely to get their payment lowered.

The data comes from the prepared remarks bank officials plan to make Tuesday before the House Financial Services Committee. The testimony was posted Monday on the committee’s website.

It adds up to a brutal illustration of just how the HAMP program, which is supposed to reduce troubled homeowners’ monthly payments to 31 percent of their income, is failing.

Failing.  As in “failing grade.”  As in failed Obama presidency.

You still don’t know the half of it.  Obama’s $75 billion mortgage modification bailout is costing taxpayers an average of $870,967 PER HOUSE when the average house is worth only $177,900.

Famed analyst Meredith Whitney predicted that unemployment would rise to 13% or higher primarily due to the failure to contain the failure to deal with the mortgage industry:

Unemployment is likely to rise to 13 percent or higher and will weigh on the economy for several years, countering government efforts to stabilize the banking industry, analyst Meredith Whitney told CNBC. [...]

“We underestimate how much the whole economy is dependent on the mortgage industry, and that has to change,” Whitney said. “This is what happens when you delay the inevitable. We’re buying time here, but we’re not restructuring the economy.”

Under the radar, and against the objections of Republicans that was primarily covered only by C-SPAN, Democrats implemented and then fiercely protected policies that were almost guaranteed to doom our economy.  When the meltdown finally occurred, the same Democrats who created the black hole in the first place flooded the airwaves and blamed George Bush – whom they had already vilified and brought down through unrelenting attacks using the Iraq War as their main foil.

The propaganda worked, and Barack Hussein Obama – a politician who is more beholden to corrupt and frankly un-American entities like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, ACORN, and the SEIU than any president in history.

And now we’re truly paying for our stupidity.

Obama is taking the same policies that imploded our economy, and multiplied them by a factor of ten.  It’s only a matter of time before his policies create a rotten floor for our economy to plunge through all over again — only this time far, far worse than before.

Someone might say, “But look, Obama is rebuilding the economy.  He’s brought back the stock market, and things are getting better.”

First of all, they really aren’t getting better, and the Dow can drop a lot faster than it can rise (history lesson: there were several rises and crashes of the stock market during the Great Depression).  And second of all, if you loan me a few billion dollars to spread around, I can temporarily bring up the production of my local economy, too.

Just don’t expect either me or Barack Hussein to repay the loan when it comes due.

Obama has been compared – and has compared himself – to FDR.  We now know that for all of FDR’s popularity, his “reforms” during the Great Depression were massive failures which actually kept the United States in depression for seven years longer than if he’d done nothing at all.

Henry Morganthau, FDR’s Treasury Secretary, said in May 1939, after nearly seven years in office:

“We have tried spending money. We are spending more than we have ever spent before and it does not work. And I have just one interest, and if I am wrong… somebody else can have my job. I want to see this country prosperous. I want to see people get a job. I want to see people get enough to eat. We have never made good on our promises… I say after eight years of this Administration we have just as much unemployment as when we started… And an enormous debt to boot!”

In believing the propaganda and lies of the Democrats and Barack Obama, Americans may have well placed the nation in a hole that it very may well not be able to climb out of.

Even Liberals Realizing Obama Has Been Total Bust At Creating Jobs

October 8, 2009

This article is in many ways typical New York Times.  It comes from a distinctly liberal perspective, and views solutions to the problems that America faces through a liberal prism.

The big difference in this case is that it really takes a critical look at a Democrat.  It slams Barack Obama as being basically disinterested and uninvolved in – and even uncomprehending of – the biggest crisis facing the country.

Does Obama Get It?

By BOB HERBERT
Published: October 5, 2009

The big question on the domestic front right now is whether President Obama understands the gravity of the employment crisis facing the country.  Does he get it?
The signals coming out of the White House have not been encouraging.

The Beltway crowd and the Einsteins of high finance who never saw this economic collapse coming are now telling us with their usual breezy arrogance that the Great Recession is probably over.  Their focus, of course, is on data, abstractions like the gross domestic product, not the continued suffering of living, breathing human beings struggling with the nightmare of joblessness.

Even Mr. Obama, in an interview with The Times, gave short shrift to the idea of an additional economic stimulus package, telling John Harwood a few weeks ago that the economy had likely turned a corner. “As you know,” the president said, “jobs tend to be a lagging indicator; they come last.”

The view of most American families is somewhat less blasé. Faced with the relentless monthly costs of housing, transportation, food, clothing, education and so forth, they have precious little time to wait for this lagging indicator to come creeping across the finish line.

Americans need jobs now, and if the economy on its own is incapable of putting people back to work — which appears to be the case — then the government needs to step in with aggressive job-creation efforts.

Nearly one in four American families has suffered a job loss over the past year, according to a survey released by the Economic Policy Institute. Nearly 1 in 10 Americans is officially unemployed, and the real-world jobless rate is worse.

We’re running on a treadmill that is carrying us backward. Something approaching 10 million new jobs would have to be created just to get back to where we were when the recession began in December 2007. There is nothing currently in the works to jump-start job creation on that scale.

A massive long-term campaign to rebuild the nation’s infrastructure — which would put large numbers of people to work establishing the essential industrial platform for a truly 21st-century American economy — has not seriously been considered. Large-scale public-works programs that would reach deep into the inner cities and out to hard-pressed suburban and rural areas have been dismissed as the residue of an ancient, unsophisticated era.

We seem to be waiting for some mythical rebound to come rolling in, magically equipped with robust job creation, a long-term bull market and paradise regained for consumers.

It ain’t happening.

While the data mavens were talking about green shoots in September, employers in the real world were letting another 263,000 of their workers go, bringing the jobless rate to 9.8 percent, the highest in more than a quarter of a century. It would have been higher still but 571,000 people dropped out of the labor market. They’re jobless but not counted as unemployed. The number of people officially unemployed — 15.1 million — is, as The Wall Street Journal noted, greater than the population of 46 of the 50 states.

The Obama administration seems hamstrung by the unemployment crisis. No big ideas have emerged. No dramatically creative initiatives. While devoting enormous amounts of energy to health care, and trying now to decide what to do about Afghanistan, the president has not even conveyed the sense of urgency that the crisis in employment warrants.

If that does not change, these staggering levels of joblessness have the potential to cripple not just the well-being of millions of American families, but any real prospects for sustained economic recovery and the political prospects of the president as well. An unemployed electorate is an unhappy electorate.

The survey for the Economic Policy Institute was conducted in September by Hart Research Associates. Respondents said that they had more faith in President Obama’s ability to handle the economy than Congressional Republicans. The tally was 43 percent to 32 percent. But when asked who had been helped most by government stimulus efforts, substantial majorities said “large banks” and “Wall Street investment companies.”

When asked how “average working people” or “you and your family” had benefited, very small percentages, in a range of 10 percent to 13 percent, said they had fared well.

The word now, in the wake of last week’s demoralizing jobless numbers, is that the administration is looking more closely at its job creation options. Whether anything dramatic emerges remains to be seen.

The master in this area, of course, was Franklin Roosevelt. His first Inaugural Address was famous for the phrase: “The only thing we have to fear. …” But he also said in that speech: “Our greatest primary task is to put people to work.” And he said the country should treat that task “as we would treat the emergency of a war.”

Now that’s the sense of urgency we need.

More Articles in Opinion » A version of this article appeared in print on October 6, 2009, on page A31 of the New York edition.

Not to dive into the genetic fallacy, as so many liberals so often do, but it is nevertheless significant that the Economic Policy Institute is a distinctly liberal think tank.  And Hart Research Associates aint exactly Rasmussen.  So while I don’t know that they aren’t right in their survey about Obama vs. Congressional Republicans, I would point out: 1) that I wouldn’t regard it as gospel; and 2) don’t forget that as LOW as Bush got in the polls, he STILL outperformed the Democrat-controlled Congress throughout his entire presidency.

In fact, Bush had more than DOUBLE the ratings of the Democrat Congress:

Bush’s job approval rating fell to 24 percent from last month’s record low for a Zogby poll of 29 percent. A paltry 11 percent gave Congress a positive grade, tying last month’s record low.

So in terms of net differences, Bush actually fared quite a bit better when pitted against a Democrat Congress than Obama is faring when pitted against Congressional Republicans.  And I would submit that the public thinks a lot more highly of Republican ideas than this smoke-and-mirror statistic would otherwise indicate.  Just sayin’.

I made that point just to demonstrate the statistical sleight of hand going on.

Now, Bob Herbert is a big government, rah-rah FDR guy, who sees the big public projects of the WPA as the model for our country’s salvation.

For what it’s worth, I – and Congressional Republicans – agree(d) that that would have been FAR better than Obama’s $3.27 trillion pork-laden employment bust known as the stimulus.

A New York Times story points out why Republicans opposed the porkulus so fiercely:

But the committee’s ranking Republican, Jerry Lewis of California, asserted that the program would do far too little to finance road construction, flood control projects and other works for the public good.

“Facts are stubborn things,” Lewis said, describing the package as a recipe for bloated government programs that would saddle taxpayers with a debt burden “well, well into the future.”

And now even the New York Times is essentially acknowledging that the Republicans were right and Obama was wrong.

I would also point out that the Hoover Dam is named the Hoover Dam because Herbert Hoover was doing public works projects before FDR.  And Herbert Hoover was the guy that every Democrat loves to blame for the Great Depression.

And while we’re on the subject of what happened in the 1930s, I might as well point out that things didn’t go so good under the leadership of FDR.

In fact, FDR’s Treasury Secretary had this to say as he looked back over the decade:

“We have tried spending money. We are spending more than we have ever spent before and it does not work. And I have just one interest, and if I am wrong… somebody else can have my job. I want to see this country prosperous. I want to see people get a job. I want to see people get enough to eat. We have never made good on our promises… I say after eight years of this Administration we have just as much unemployment as when we started… And an enormous debt to boot!” — Henry Morganthau, FDR’s Treasury Secretary, May 1939

A look at the graph of unemployment should help you understand what Henry Morganthau understood:

It shouldn’t surprise you when you take the time to learn about what FDR attempted that he actually prolonged the Great Depression by seven years.

Having mentioned the massive yet mysteriously ignored failure of FDR to solve unemployment or get the economy going, allow me to return to Obama’s current failure.

Still another liberal publication, Time Magazine, ran an article back in July entitled, “Obama’s Stimulus Plan: Failing by Its Own Measure.”  It begins:

Back in early January, when Barack Obama was still President-elect, two of his chief economic advisers — leading proponents of a stimulus bill — predicted that the passage of a large economic-aid package would boost the economy and keep the unemployment rate below 8%. It hasn’t quite worked out that way. Last month, the jobless rate in the U.S. hit 9.5%, the highest level it has reached since 1983.

And of course, it’s currently 9.8% – and almost certain to keep rising.

Now contrast what the Obama team predicted – a ceiling no higher than 8% unemployment – and then see what the administration is trying to pass off now:

Vice President Joe Biden delivered a rousing review of the government’s economic stimulus plan in a conversation with the nation’s governors. “In my wildest dreams, I never thought it would work this well,” he said. “Thank you, thank you.”

I mean, is this a statement that when team Obama said that they believed their stimulus plan would keep unemployment under 8% that they were being fundamentally dishonest with the American people?  And that 9.8% unemployment is better than their wildest dreams?

And don’t just say Vice President Joe Biden is an idiot and dismiss him.  He IS an idiot, of course.  But he is the official spokesidiot of the Obama Administration.

Having affirmed that significant public works-style projects would have been a massive improvement over the failed Obama stimulus, allow me to briefly point out a few other things that would have helped the nation restore confidence in the U.S. economy and the jobs that would have gone with it.

For one thing, tax breaks would have helped, but we didn’t get them.

Contrary to Democrat fluffery, there really weren’t “tax breaks” in the stimulus.  Rather, the people who got the “breaks” didn’t actually pay federal income taxes.  The “tax breaks” were really welfare breaks.  Lowering taxes stimulates more investment and more productivity by allowing investors to keep more of what they earn, rather than incentivizing them to shelter their money, which raising taxes invariably does.  Transferring money from the pockets of tax payers and giving it to those who didn’t pay federal income taxes – even if you euphemistically call it a “tax break” – simply doesn’t accomplish that goal.

Another thing that would have helped was targeting stimulus toward the businesses that actually do most of the hiring.

Small businesses which employ 20 or fewer workers are responsible for 50% of the jobs in this country.  And businesses defined as “small businesses” are responsible for nearly 3/4ths of the total jobs in the USA.

And what did small businesses get from the stimulus? Butkus.  The porn-loving National Endowment for the Arts actually got more stimulus funds than all the small businesses in the country combined.

If Democrats wanted to create jobs, they might have considered giving the money to businesses that actually created jobs, rather than to their politically connected liberal special interest groups.  Again, just sayin’.

It also would have helped if the stimulus had been something that actually helped more than it hurt.  The Congressional Budget Office, hardly a conservative bastion, reported that the stimulus bill would lead to a lower GDP 5 to 10 years out than if Congress had done absolutely NOTHING.  The enormous government spending will ultimately crowd out private investment which would have had a much higher chance of increasing GDP than the spending in the stimulus bill.


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