The president is pivoting back to the economy … again. This is not the first time he's tried to do this. It's not even the second. In fact, according to the Washington Examiner, this is the eighth time Barack Obama has pivoted back to the economy. Will eighth time be the charm? Doubtful.
What exactly does he plan to do about our stagnant economy? Give more speeches! Even the New York Times describes this as a “campaign-style tour.” That's what he seems to do best. On Wednesday, Obama will be giving two economic speeches at Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois and at University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg, Missouri.
What can we expect from these speeches? Absolutely nothing new. White House officials have already stated that these speeches will not offer any proposal or approaches. Oh excellent, so this is just another excuse for Obama to claim the spotlight to highlight his incredible speaking skills? Some reports suggest that these speeches will take on a more populist tone, similar to the speech he made in 2011 in Osawatomie, Kansas. So last week Obama managed to stoke the racial fire and this week he will work on fueling the class warfare fire. This is nothing more than community agitation, not leadership.
I love how Obama's senior advisor Dan Pfeiffer frames these speeches. He wrote in a mass email sent out yesterday, “The president thinks Washington has largely taken its eye off the ball on the most important issue facing the country.” Oh, so when Obama was galavanting around the country talking about gun control, immigration, sequestration, gay marriage, that was all Washington's fault? Pfeiffer goes on to say in his email, “Instead of talking about how to help the middle class, too many in Congress are trying to score political points, refight old battles, and trump up phony scandals.” Phony scandals? If the administration believes that the IRS targeting, the NSA, Benghazi or the DOJ snooping on reporters are all “phony scandals,” then we have a real problem on our hands. They are phony only to those involved and to those who have a vested interest in making sure that they go away. But to the American people, these scandals demonstrate a blatant abuse of power and the American people deserve the truth. After all, government works for us, remember? To call these scandals “phony” is to call the concerns of millions Americans imaginary or warrantless. We cannot accept that.
But supposedly Obama is giving these speeches as a way to set the stage for budget and debt ceiling debates that will take place this fall. In other words, the battle over our nation's fiscal future is upon us. Based on what's I've read thus far, it doesn't seem as though Obama's economic strategy has changed: Demand the rich pay more taxes and push for more government spending. Yet look at what his economic vision has produced thus far.
- We are experiencing the worst economic recovery since the Great Depression.
- Our national debt is nearly $17 trillion, an increase of $7 trillion since he became president.
- The Fed has been buying $85 billion in securities each month, yet that has failed to achieve full employment.
- Nearly 50 million Americans are on food stamps.
- One out of every five children in America is living in poverty.
- There are fewer Americans working today than when Obama became president, with the labor force participation rate near an all-time record low of 63.5%, compared to 65.7% when he was inaugurated.
- The real unemployment rate (U-6) is in the 14% range, with more workers taking part-time jobs than ever before to fill in the gaps for the lack of full-time opportunities.
If Obama really wants to talk about the economy, why doesn't he start with a discussion on the perverse effects his healthcare bill is having on jobs and opportunity? Last week I explained to you the effect that ObamaCare is having on businesses and hiring. We are becoming a part-time society, partly due to the economic consequences associated with ObamaCare. When 74% of small businesses say that they plan to fire workers or cut hours due to ObamaCare, THAT'S a problem. Yet I guarantee that this will not be a part of Obama's class-warfare campaign over the next few weeks.
If you ask small businesses – the engine of our economy and hiring – their three biggest concerns are taxes, regulations and poor sales. Well we already know what Obama wants to do to the taxes of small business owners – He wants to raise taxes on those evil rich people. So I'm sure his upcoming speeches will make small businesses feel all the more optimistic about the future. But what about regulations? According to a report from the Heritage Foundation, “Regulatory burdens on Americans increased by nearly $70 billion during President Obama’s first term in office, during which federal agencies imposed 131 new major regulations.” You can expect those regulations to grow. In fact, proposed EPA regulations alone could cost businesses up to $1 trillion. This is money that is being sucked out of the private sector. Instead of being used to grow businesses, increase productivity or hire workers, this money goes straight to the government. It's no wonder that our economy isn't growing.
The bottom line is that Barack Obama doesn't know how to grow our economy or create jobs. His eighth pivot to jobs won't be any more successful than his previous seven, unless he tries a new approach. But that doesn't seem to be the case. Instead we can expect him to double-down on his tired tax-and-spend solutions and use the bully-pulpit to gin up class warfare anxieties.