An Indictment of Barack Obama’s Economic Record – Daniel J. Mitchell – Townhall Finance Conservative Columnists and Financial Commentary

An Indictment of Barack Obama’s Economic Record – Daniel J. Mitchell – Townhall Finance Conservative Columnists and Financial Commentary.

In a recent post comparing Reaganomics and Obamanomics, I explained why I think Barack Obama’s policies have been hurting the economy.

In today’s New York Post, I do a full-scale indictment. Here are my bullet points.

* The unemployment rate is still above 8 percent, even though the White House promised it would drop to about 6 percent today if the stimulus was enacted.

* Several million fewer Americans have jobs today than five years ago.

* The poverty rate has jumped to more than 15 percent, with a record number of Americans living below the poverty level of income.

* According to the most recent data, median household income is lower than when the recession began.

* The burden of government spending remains high, and record levels of red ink are a symptom of that bloat in Washington.

* The threat of higher taxes is omnipresent, serving as a Sword of Damocles over the economy’s neck

* Continued weakness in the housing and financial sectors reminds people that bailouts and intervention have left lots of problems unsolved.

I also explain that some of  the recent good news is in spite of the President’s statist policies.

* The recovery began just as Obama’s stimulus spending ended, thus confirming suspicions that lots of money was wasted as part of a process that hindered the economy’s growth.

* The job numbers only began to improve at the end of 2010, right as Republicans took control of the House and presumably ended Obama’s ability to further shift the nation’s course.

The final point is one deserving of elaboration. People in the private sector necessarily have to make educated guesses about the future economic environment. With this in mind, I think it’s quite reasonable – as I commented last month – to argue that the GOP takeover on Capitol Hill boosted the economy since entrepreneurs could feel more comfortable that the federal government wasn’t going to be imposing additional burdens.

This indictment of Obama’s dismal economic track record does not suggest, I should hasten to add, that Mitt Romney or Rick Santorum would be any better. Both of them seem closer to Bush than Reagan, so it’s not clear they would make any substantive changes in the burden of the federal government.

A Simple Choice: Barack Obama or Rutherford Hayes?

Other than my ongoing adulation for Ronald Reagan, occasional praise for Calvin Coolidge, and one post about John F. Kennedy, I don’t have many nice things to say about previous Presidents.

But I feel the need to rise to the defense of Rutherford B. Hayes, who was mocked recently by the current President. This Mark Steyn column is a deliciously vicious commentary on Obama’s speech, so no need for me to delve into the details.

Instead, I want to jump on the bandwagon and produce some posters comparing the 19th President and the 44th President (if you’re not aware, posters of Pres. Hayes with self-created captions have been all over the Internet).

You won’t be surprised to learn that I’m focused on the policy differences between Hayes and Obama.

Most important, Hayes largely was true to the Founding Fathers’ vision of a limited central government. Government spending averaged only about 6 percent of economic output during his tenure (probably less, the data are not very robust, so I took the worst-case numbers) and America was blessedly free of the income tax.

Obama, on the other hand, is repeating all of Bush’s mistakes and making government an even bigger burden, and then compounding his error by pursuing class warfare tax policy.

So which President would you prefer, Hayes or Obama?

Whitewashing History, Obama Style – Heritage.com

Whitewashing History, Obama Style – Heritage.com.

If U.S. history is a painting on a giant canvas, President Barack Obama’s speech this week in Osawatomie, Kansas, is a thick coat of whitewash layered all over it, and the failure of the last three years lies underneath. The President’s pretense is that, no, it’s not Obamanomics that has caused persistent unemployment, stunted growth and record deficits–it’s supply side economics!

Talk about audacity.

The President’s speech was a naked portrayal of his vision of America–one where inequality runs rampant, where the American dream is nearly dead, where the rich oppress the poor, where education is undervalued. As Charles Krauthammer observes this morning in The Washington Post, “That’s the kind of damning observation the opposition brings up when you’ve been in office three years.”

Indeed, what was glaringly absent from the President’s portrait was the fact that his economic policies have failed to put Americans back to work and his absolute inability to lead Washington toward combating rampant government spending. His solution, moreover, was more of the same stuff that has failed spectacularly for him: government as the great savior.

But in President Obama’s mind, it is others who offer ideas that don’t work, not him. He points to “a certain crowd in Washington” that argues for tax cuts and reduced regulations, calling it “a simple theory” that “fits well on a bumper sticker” but “has never worked.”

Correction, Mr. President. It has worked–time and time again throughout history. The trouble is, Mr. Obama has never tried it, and the Keynesian economic policies he enacted fell flat on their face, just as they have throughout history.

It started with a massive $787 billion stimulus bill that White House economists predicted would create (not merely save) 3.3 million net jobs by 2010. It was Keynesian economics at its finest, based on the premise that government spending would spark demand and put Americans back to work.

It didn’t. Some 13.3 million Americans remain out of work, the unemployment rate has hovered between 8 and 10 percent throughout Obama’s presidency, and economic growth has been stuck on slow. In fact, today America is witnessing the longest stretch of such high unemployment in the postwar era. Meanwhile, job creation has hit a record low, as Heritage’s James Sherk explains:

Fewer existing businesses are expanding, while fewer entrepreneurs are starting new businesses. In the first quarter of 2011, the number of workers hired in new business establishments fell to just 660,000, 27 percent fewer than when the recession began. This is the lowest number of workers hired at new businesses that the Bureau of Labor Statistics has ever recorded–lower even than the worst points of the recession.

Yet despite these numbers — and the fact that President Obama had near-free rein to enact the Keynesian economic policies he saw fit — the President is now demagoguing the one economic policy he hasn’t tried — supply-side economics — while calling for more government spending all as America’s debt is deepening. He would do better to study history and get a grasp of how cutting taxes and freeing the market has worked when employed by both Democrats and Republicans.

Lowering tax rates, thereby allowing people to keep and invest more of the money that is rightfully theirs, has proven good for the economy time and time again. In the 1920s, 1960s, and 1980s, tax rate reductions resulted in faster growth, rising incomes, and more job creation. And despite the President’s claim that cutting taxes only helps the rich, when tax rates were lowered in those decades, higher-income Americans paid an even greater share of the tax burden because they had fewer reasons to hide, shelter, and under-report income. But if taxes are increased — as President Obama continues to threaten — the price of working, saving, investing, and taking risks goes up, too.

History bears this out. Daniel Mitchell writes that in the 1920s, under Presidents Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge, the top tax rate was reduced from 73 percent to 25 percent. The result? The economy expanded, growing by 59 percent between 1921 and 1929, with annual economic growth averaging more than 6 percent. Under President Kennedy, the top rate dropped from 91 percent in 1963 to 70 percent by 1965. The result? Between 1961 and 1968, the economy expanded by more than 42 percent, with average annual growth of more than 5 percent. Under President Reagan, the top tax rate fell from 70 percent in 1980 to 28 percent by 1988, leading to incredible economic expansion and average growth of nearly 4 percent. Finally, in the six quarters following the 2003 tax cuts, the GDP’s growth rate shot up to 4.1 percent from 1.7 percent before.

But the President doesn’t have to take The Heritage Foundation’s word for it. He can heed the words of President Kennedy in his 1962 speech to the Economic Club of New York:

Our true choice is not between tax reduction, on the one hand, and the avoidance of large federal deficits on the other. It is increasingly clear that no matter what party is in power, so long as our national security needs keep rising, an economy hampered by restrictive tax rates will never produce enough revenues to balance our budget just as it will never produce enough jobs or enough profits.

Unfortunately, President Obama does not appear open to advice, nor does he seem cognizant of history–be it that of 10, 20, 40, or 90 years ago, or even his experience of the last three years. Instead, he is damning the torpedoes and continuing to pursue a liberal, progressive agenda that has proven to be a failure. As they have for the past three years, Americans will pay the price.