As we observed during the Clinton Administration, once you have rid yourself of any sense of shame the world is your oyster. If you can’t be deterred from an action by shame then there is no action you can’t undertake. Barack Obama has shown us that when it comes to shamelessness, Bill and Hillary Clinton are rank amateurs.
On Wednesday, Obama gave another in his unending series of fundraising speeches. This one on behalf of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
As usual, Obama fell back on his four point style of governance: deny everything, admit nothing, blame others, and make counter accusations.
But here’s what’s more disconcerting. Their willingness to say no to everything — the fact that since 2007, they have filibustered about 500 pieces of legislation that would help the middle class just gives you a sense of how opposed they are to any progress — has actually led to an increase in cynicism and discouragement among the people who were counting on us to fight for them. The conclusion is, well, nothing works. And the problem is, is that for the folks worth fighting for — for the person who’s cleaning up that house or hotel, for the guy who used to work on construction but now has been laid off — they need us. Not because they want a handout, but because they know that government can serve an important function in unleashing the power of our private sector.
The Washington Post has already demolished his bizarre claim of 500 filibusters by Republicans, the dense and gullible Glenn Kessler awarding it Four Pinocchios:
We realize that Senate rules are complex and difficult to understand, but the president did serve in the Senate and should be familiar with its terms and procedures. Looking at the numbers, he might have been able to make a case that Republicans have blocked about 50 bills that he had wanted passed, such as an increase in the minimum wage. But instead, he inflated the numbers to such an extent that he even included votes in which he, as senator, supported a filibuster.
Don’t know about that, Glenn. When all you do is vote present you don’t learn very much.
But, on its merits, have Republicans really voted against the middle class? Conversely, what has Obama done for the middle class.
While some progress has been made reducing nominal unemployment, when the total labor force is considered — persons working, persons seeking work, persons working part time but desiring full time work, and discouraged workers — we are looking at a level of structural unemployment unprecedented since the great depression.
Labor Force Participation
Any success the Obama administration has had had in reducing the unemployment rate has been by reducing the labor force participation rate. In other words, if fewer people are actively seeking employment then your unemployment rate goes down… even when the economy is in the crapper.
Older Workers Working, Younger Workers
In a normal employment curve you expect a higher labor participation rate for workers under 55 than for those older. Thanks to Barack Obama, that is no longer the case. Older workers find themselves unable to retire… often because their kids can’t find employment… and younger workers are experiencing chronic unemployment and underemployment at a time when they should be establishing a career. This idleness will haunt them throughout their lives.
Delinquency of debt of all types remains high, some at historic levels. This indicates consumers are either unable to make payments, because of unemployment or underemployment, or they are sufficiently uncertain about the employment climate to service their debt. Regardless of reason, this is not the mark of a healthy climate.
Student Loan Debt Load
True to it’s devotion to Cargo Cult Economics, the Obama administration believes more young people reduced to penury by a student loan debt load that will retard their personal savings and wealth accumulation for decades is good. For Obama, it is. It takes young people out of the labor market, reducing the unemployment rate. It also builds a larger class of people beholden to the government for things they should provide for themselves. The chart above documents the skyrocketing rate of delinquency on student loans.
Paradoxically, though the cost of college has risen exponentially under Obama, the beginning earnings of a college graduate are lower now than a decade ago.
Failed Leadership and Failed Economy
We can do the chart thing all day. There is no marker of a healthy economy that has not cratered under Obama. But what is the point? At a certain point you just grow numb.
While the Obama administration is caviling over alleged Republican obstructionism, the real enemy of the middle class remains this administration. It has raised crony capitalism to the status of fetish while at the same time actively attacking industries, for instance, coal and petrochemical, that would provide good paying jobs. Real family income continues to decline. Prospects for retirement remain grim. Young people are afraid to strike out on their own and spend years attain an uneconomic advanced degree and living with their parents. It has engaged in class warfare and has played Americans off against each other by age, race, income, and gender by insisting the economy is a zero sum game where every wage increase must be met by a wage cut.
For the first two years of this administration, it got everything it wanted. A bloated TARP. An unconscionable bailout of the auto industry. Essential nationalization of the health care sector. Only since 2010 has he faced any resistance and it has been of only the most minor nature. He got his debt increase for the cost of one federal job. Government regulation has continued apace. Where resistance has been met, Obama has countered by the use of executive orders or by simply ignoring the law.
The sooner we send this bunch back to Chicago the sooner the nation can start to heal.