WASHINGTON -- No doubt by now you've heard the story on the nightly news that the Obama economy grew at a weaker pace in the fourth quarter than was previously expected.
What's that, you say? You didn't hear that on the evening news? I wonder why. Maybe the big three networks in New York didn't want you to know that a revised analysis of the last three months of 2010 showed the economy grew at an anemic 2.8 percent -- well below the 3.2 percent GDP growth rate the Commerce Department estimated early last month and that the networks trumpeted with gusto.
According to commerce figures released last Friday, economic growth was four-tenths of a percentage point lower than previously reported. And this was in the last three months of the second year of President Obama's nearly $1 trillion spending stimulus extravaganza to get the economy back on track to robust health.
But more than two years into his unprecedented spending binge, GDP growth remains in the 2 percentage point range; unemployment is still stuck between 9 and 10 percent; meager private-sector jobs are being created; gas prices for regular are climbing toward $4 a gallon; and home mortgage foreclosures are expected to remain high well into 2012.
If all of this were not disturbing enough, the Obama administration is blaming the weak economic data on Republican efforts among the state governments to sharply reduce spending. And the news media has begun to peddle a rash of stories that claim further efforts in Congress and in the states to cut public payrolls and spending will only lead to deeper job losses and a weaker economy. The latest decline in GDP growth came as a shock to the White House and economic analysts, who in recent weeks have been forecasting exaggerated economic growth rates of anywhere from 3.5 percent to 4 percent in 2011. Now, their politically driven, over-the-top growth estimates are being re-evaluated.
"We had every reason to believe the U.S. economy will do extremely well this year," Bernard Baumohl, chief global economist for the Economic Outlook Group, told the Washington Post last week. "Now we have to go back to the drawing boards."
But the weak growth we saw in the last three months of 2010 was in large part a continuation of the sub-par recovery we've seen over the past two years. It is the direct result of Obama's failed jobs policy that is based on the misguided Keynesian belief that the government can spend itself into prosperity. It didn't happen. Instead, job layoffs continued and unemployment rose to nearly 10 percent -- 17 percent if you count workers forced to take temporary jobs and discouraged workers who have given up looking for a job.