Economy – This week’s economic numbers for the first quarter came out. Our economy grew at a 0.01% rate for the first three months of the year. This is the slowest growth since Obama took office. These numbers indicate a growth rate of less than 0.5% for the sixth year of the recovery. Statistically, it is still growth, so a recession is not technically upon us. The Administration blamed the bad weather for the dismal results. This past week we recorded 344,000 new claims for unemployment. This is a new high for the year. It is now reported that one family in five has no-one in the family with a job. The unemployment rate dropped to 6.3%. That’s the lowest in quite a while, but looking deeper into the numbers shows that while there were 282,000 new jobs created, there were 802,000 unemployed people removed from the workforce because they were unemployed for 27 weeks without finding a job. Also, the percentage of working adults dropped to 63%, the lowest rate of working adults in over 50 years. The pressure this puts on the government for services is extreme. Part of the problem is our lack of manufacturing. To be fair to the current Administration, many of our trade treaties with foreign governments proceeded Obama. It is cost efficient for our corporations to manufacture our products off-shore, reducing our middle class employment.
Taxes and Regulations – While the rest of the industrial world has adopted the Reagan principles, the U.S. has increased taxes and regulations rather dramatically over the past six years. We now have one of the highest tax rates in the world. This stops the profits earned abroad from coming back to the U.S. for investment. Add in our heavy regulations on all forms of commerce, and it is insane for manufacturers to return to America and open new plants. This is good for the corporate bottom line but devastating to the middle class who need employment to buy the products. With the Affordable Care Act taxes due start July 1, this situation will only get worse. The environmental regulations and the costs associated with them is another drag on the small amount of commerce still here. China, the fastest growing country in the world, was projected to surpass the U.S. economy in 20 years just four years ago, is now expected to surpass us this year.
Other Domestic – The Administration has done everything they can to separate Americans. Obama has waged war between the rich vs. poor, Republicans vs. Democrats, black vs. white, management vs. labor, Christian vs. Muslim, gay vs. straight, men vs. women, and every other way he can. Not once in his six years in office has he tried to unite the country. This lack of unity has hurt the country.
Foreign Affairs – Obama has cut the heart out of our military. As we wind down our commitments in Afghanistan and Iraq, the “peace dividend” has been greatly overdone. Our navy is the smallest it has been since before World War II. The argument is that an aircraft carrier, which costs hundreds of billions of dollars to build, could be sunk by one missile. This is true if we are in a conflict with one of the super powers, but not true if we are using it against a third world country, where most of the regional conflicts occur. Regardless, we do not have the resources to police the world anymore. Russia, under the leadership of Putin, is rebuilding their military at an alarming rate. Putin is re-establishing the Soviet empire. Obama has already signalled we will take no action to stop the Russian expansion in Ukraine and possibly the Baltic States. Just like Hitler in the early part of Germany’s expansion, Putin is very popular at home. Iran is close to developing a nuclear weapon that they have stated they will use against Israel. Iraq and Afghanistan are negotiating with the Taliban and Al Queda, as we have indicated we will leave and not protect them in the future. Our relationships with Israel and Europe are strained. These countries do not respect or trust America anymore, and we can not count on them for support for American interests.
No matter how you want to grade the President, it is hard to give him a passing grade in any of these issues.