He’s Owned It: The Obama Economy
He’s Owned It: The Obama Economy
By Congressman Tim Huelskamp
Three years ago this month, Congressional Democrats and President Obama signed a $787 billion “stimulus” into law. The American people were told this massive spending would result in significant job creation and economic turnaround. Chief among the promises was a commitment that unemployment would never go above 8 percent.
Not only has unemployment remained above 8 percent every single month since the stimulus became law 36 months ago, but the outlooks for this year and next are no better. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) issued its 2012 economic forecast, and the nation's unemployment rate is expected to remain above 8 percent this year and to exceed 9 percent again next year!
On top of this, the number of long-term unemployed (people without a job for 26 weeks or more) has more than doubled in the past three years and all but seven states have high unemployment rates.
This past week I had the opportunity to question the Director of the CBO when he came before the Budget Committee. I asked him specifically about the impact of the stimulus on the economy, and he said that while there may have been some short-term benefits, “unless there are offsetting changes made that pay off the extra debt that was incurred, the economy will be worse off as a result.”
So, not only was there a lack of long-term or meaningful job growth, but America’s debt load increased because of it.
Three years ago, President Obama said he should be held accountable for the state of the economy, stating that if the job is not done, “there’s going to be a one-term proposition.” He probably hoped that he would be able to take credit for a recovered economy rather than the actual failed one, but nonetheless, he set the standard. Certainly President Obama cannot be blamed for the condition of the economy in January 2009, but he should be for the condition in January 2012.
On top of the lackluster employment numbers is the poor state of America’s fiscal health. Since the day President Obama took office, federal debt has increased by 43 percent, from $10.6 trillion to $15.2 trillion. The country has run a trillion-dollar deficit every single year of his Presidency. And, federal spending will account for 23.2 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), compared to the 21.0 percent average over the past 40 years. All of these factors have a destructive impact on our economy.
Another experiment with massive government spending did not stimulate the economy and job creation three years ago. Years of massive government spending and overregulation are the reason that our economy cannot recover today. The burden of $15.2 trillion in debt (and another $1.2 trillion this year) along with annual trillion-dollar deficits depress our economy, discourage our small businesses, and distress our taxpayers.
America’s economic conditions and Washington’s fiscal state certainly influence one another. If the President is truly concerned with getting America’s economy rolling again and getting the more than 21 million unemployed people back to work, then he should be concerned with the arena in which he can exercise the most influence: government spending. When the President submits his budget next week, it should be one geared toward reducing spending, not repeating a failed government boondoggle.