WASHINGTON -- President Obama's troubles with a weakening economy are outracing his excuses, triggering political turmoil and angst among Democrats who now fear they will lose majority control of Congress in November. The White House is getting slammed by one economic bombshell after another. The data coming in during the past week suggests that economic growth had slowed down to just over 2 percent in April through June, far from the 3.5 percent that had been forecast. The Federal Reserve Board released minutes of its June meeting showing most board members saying it will take "five or six years" for the country to pull out of its economic lethargy and nearly 10 percent unemployment.
The entire gamut of the nation's business community, from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to the small business lobby over at the National Federation of Independent Business, has been pounding the administration almost weekly for a legislative juggernaut they say is creating paralyzing uncertainty in the economy and killing job creation.
All of this is fueling strong disapproval of the ruling party. The Democrats got an earful from voters over the long Fourth of July recess, reinforcing internal party polls showing they have lost the nation's support for their big spending, welfare-state agenda. The boiling point came last Tuesday in a closed-door party caucus meeting of House Democrats in the Capitol, where rank-and-file members vented their anger toward a White House that seemed to be doing nothing to defend them and their "walk the plank" votes on everything from a failed trillion-dollar stimulus, Obamacare and energy taxes to excessive financial regulation reform.
"What the hell do they think we've been doing the last 12 months? We're the ones who have been taking the tough votes," Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr. of New Jersey told the Washington Post.
While Obama was running around the country taking credit for these and other bills his party supported, they were getting slammed back home for spending the nation into bankruptcy and suffocating a jobless economic recovery.
But no economic development in recent weeks was worse than the Federal Reserve Board's warning, which lowered expectations for future economic growth and said the recovery would be slower than previously thought.
"The changes to the outlook were viewed as relatively modest and as not warranting policy accommodation beyond that already in place," the Fed said in minutes from the June 22-23 policy meeting.