Investors Business Daily channels its inner Ronald Reagan, who famously asked before the 1980 presidential election:
A Bloomberg poll out this week purports to find that “Americans say they’re better off since Obama took office.” Don’t believe it. Fact is that by most measures, Americans have fallen behind under Obama. …
Here are the facts:
More unemployed: As of May, there were almost 700,000 more people out of work than in January 2009, and the unemployment rate is higher — 8.2% vs. 7.8%. There are also 2.7 million more long-term unemployed — those who’ve been out of work for 27 weeks or more, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
More discouraged workers: The number of “discouraged workers” — people who believe no job is available — is still 100,000 bigger than when Obama took office. There are also more people working part-time because they can’t find full-time jobs, and millions more who aren’t in the labor force at all.
Lower weekly earnings: BLS data also show that real median weekly earnings have dropped 3% during Obama’s time in the White House.
Less household income: Aside from a few upward blips along the way, real median household income has declined steadily under Obama, and is almost 10% below where it stood in January 2009, according to the latest report from Sentier Research.
Lower home prices: The price of existing-home sales has dropped 2.5% in real terms, according to the National Association of Realtors.
More misery: This index — which combines inflation and unemployment — is up 26% under Obama.
Greater income inequality: Obama likes to talk endlessly about fairness and complain about the growing income gap. But to the extent that it matters, income inequality has gotten much worse under Obama. …
And this is to say nothing of the massive debt that Obama has piled up which, as we pointed out Wednesday, could hamper growth for years to come.
Now, of course, Obama likes to blame President Bush for these lousy results. But the truth is that the recession ended five short months after Obama was sworn in — and long before most of his “stimulus” had been spent.
Plus, if history is any guide, the deep 2007-09 recession should have been followed by an even more powerful recovery. Had Obama’s recovery been merely average, there would be millions more with jobs today.
The problem is that Obama’s growth-choking policies have produced the worst economic recovery on record. And the sluggish growth over the past three years hasn’t been enough to lift most people’s boats, but has caused them to sink even further.
The Wall Street Journal’s Dan Henninger adds:
If for the next five months the president and Mitt Romney spoke of nothing other than economic growth—on the stump, in their debates, in their sleep—this election would be the best $2 billion “investment” of campaign funds that Citizens United ever enabled. Get the growth choice right, and we’ll be ok. Get it wrong and your kids will be talking Australia emigration.
Right now, with growth stuck below 2%, we’re toast. With strong growth at 3% or better, there will be jobs. With long-term growth, Medicare, debt and the rest of the horribles that keep worrywarts awake at night are solvable. With strong growth, the U.S. will not have to cede world leadership prematurely to whichever Chinese functionary slugs his way to the top of their heap. With strong growth, your college graduate can move out of the house. With normal American growth, Europe may be irrelevant but it won’t die, and a U.S. president won’t look oddly small talking to the Vladimir Putins of the world. …
Put differently, this is a substance election. It’s not about whether one “likes” Barack Obama or can’t warm to Mitt Romney. Voters have to pick two competing growth models, which means paying attention to what the candidates are saying about economic growth. …
It’s true the Obama Cleveland speech had many familiar rhetorical distortions. One of the most revealing, though, is that “Governor Romney and his allies in Congress believe deeply in the theory that . . . the best way to grow the economy is from the top down.”
Whatever that may mean, more interesting is the Obama counter-theory found here, what he calls “our North Star—an economy that’s built not from the top down, but from a growing middle class.”
There is no theory anywhere in non-Marxist economics that says growth’s primary engine is a social class. A middle class is the result of growth, not its cause. Barack Obama not only believes in class-based growth but has built his whole growth strategy around it.
One word appears nowhere in the 53-minute Obama speech on economic growth: “capital.” Human, financial, whatever. Capital dare not speak its name. …
If Mr. Romney hopes to win what Barack Obama is rightly calling a defining growth election, the governor will have to refute in detail the president’s notions of how growth happens and then explain to voters the real-economy alternative.