You Call This An Economic Recovery?
Back in August 2010, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner wrote an Op-Ed titled "Welcome to the Recovery." Two years later, most Americans would be right to ask: What recovery?
Yes, the economy is technically growing, and corporate profits are up. But the pace of growth during the Obama "recovery" has been so slow that it's leaving most Americans further behind.
The latest sign: Real median household income has fallen 4.8% since the so-called recovery officially began in June 2009. That's a steeper decline than occurred during the recession itself, when incomes dropped 2.6%, according to a new report from Sentier Research.
Almost every demographic group has seen incomes drop during the alleged Obama recovery, Sentier found. Even those who report being continuously employed watched their real incomes drop nearly 5% over the past three years.
A separate report last week from the Pew Research Center found that over the past decade, the middle class has "shrunk in size, fallen backward in income and wealth, and shed some ... of its characteristic faith in the future."
Meanwhile, there are 800,000 more long-term unemployed than when the "recovery" started, and the ranks of those who aren't in the labor force at all have swelled by nearly 8 million.
The unemployment rate remains stuck above 8%, and shows no sign of coming down any time soon. And the dreaded misery index - which combines inflation and unemployment - is 20% higher than it was three years ago.
Even unions have suffered, with membership down more than half a million since 2009.
Now the Congressional Budget Office warns that the economy is so fragile it will drop back into a recession if Congress doesn't do something to stop a raft of tax hikes and automatic spending cuts from kicking in at the start of next year.
And Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke is talking about how the central bank still has room to pump additional stimulus into the economy and "strengthen the recovery."
Is it any wonder that, according to the Pew study, 85% of the middle class say it's more difficult now than it was a decade ago to maintain their standard of living? Less than a third of those asked say they're in better shape now than they were before the recession started.
The only mystery is why the public refuses to pin the blame where it belongs. According to Pew, just 34% say Obama deserves "a lot" of blame for today's middle class woes. More blame George W. Bush, foreign competition, Congress, banks and big companies.
That no doubt suits Obama, who has spent his entire first term accusing everything from the GOP takeover of the House to the Japanese tsunami for the ongoing subpar recovery.
But Obama got everything he wanted in his first two years in office, when Democrats overwhelmingly controlled Congress. And at the time, he promised his policies would propel the country forward, forecasting a growth rate of 4% or better this year and next.
Instead, the $830 billion stimulus, the $5 trillion in new debt, the auto bailouts, the huge "green energy" subsidies, Dodd-Frank, ObamaCare and hugely expensive environmental regulations have combined to produce the weakest economic recovery since the Great Depression.
On the campaign trail this year, Obama says his program is working, but he needs more time to dig the country out of the deep recession hole.
Truth is, his policies are choking economic growth and leaving the middle class further and further behind.