Donald Lambro

The third-quarter gross domestic product -- the measurement of all the goods and services we produce -- was up slightly from the feeble 1.7 percent growth rate in the April to June quarter. But it was only further evidence of the economy's shallow growth range under Obama's impotent spending policies.

Still, the compliant national news media was trying to put the best spin it could on the dismal numbers, even to the point of saying the 2.6 percent GDP rate was growing at "a moderate pace" when the Fed sees it as "disappointingly slow," too slow to create any jobs.

Many economists say the economy will need to grow by 4 to 5 percent to bring unemployment down by 1 percent, and that kind of growth isn't in the cards for the remaining two years in Obama's term under his remedial, anti-growth policies. Moratoriums on drilling have pushed oil prices to their highest point in years, shoving gas prices into record territory. Home values remain flat. And health care costs are rising faster under government-run Obamacare.

The Associated Press reports that economic growth is expected to come in at "3.5 percent pace or better" in the fourth quarter on the basis of higher retail sales, but "job insecurity remains a problem." A problem? The underemployment rate, which has hit 17 percent, is a crisis, and claims that growth rose more than 3.5 percent in the last three months should be taken with a large grain of salt.

The tax cut-extension package Congress passed, extending the Bush tax reductions on incomes, capital gains and business write-offs for two more years will help to some extent; so will the one-year, two-percentage point payroll tax cut for all workers. But these remain temporary, creating the same uncertainty that kept businesses from making long-term expansion investments in the past two years.

It will be up to the new Congress to build upon this stop-gap tax bill with broader, permanent, more far-reaching tax cut incentives for entrepreneurial investment that can and will create new businesses, jobs and faster growth.

President Obama did a lot of bragging Wednesday, even for him, about the thousands of pages of new laws the lame-duck Democrats passed in recent weeks. But he had little to say about the poor state of the economy.

Donald Lambro

Donald Lambro is chief political correspondent for The Washington Times.