Donald Lambro

The result is that the "proportion of the population working actually fell to 58.1 percent, its lowest level since the early 1980s," writes Washington Post economics reporter Neil Irwin.

So not only have Obama's economic and fiscal policies weakened the economy -- which virtually stopped growing in the first quarter of this year, then barely grew by 1.3 percent between April and June -- he has also shrunk the labor pool. That's quite an achievement.

Let's not overlook the underemployment rate -- the hard-working people forced to take part-time work, if they can find it, because no full-time jobs are available. Their numbers barely budged last week.

Few if any economists expect the nation's unemployment rate will fall significantly this year or next. This is an economy awash in fear and uncertainty, largely created by Obama and his policies.

Will employers large and small face higher tax rates that will cut their bottom line in 2012 and beyond? Obama wants to end the 2001 Bush tax-rate cuts -- raising Bush's 35 percent top rate to nearly 40 percent -- and those cuts will automatically expire at the end of 2012 if he has anything to say about it.

Remember, Obama was pushing higher taxes throughout the first half of this year when, according to his own Commerce Department, the economy was barely growing, businesses were struggling just to keep their heads above water and jobs were in short supply.

Employers won't hire and consumers won't spend when they fear the government is going to take a larger share of their income and hurt the job market in the process.

For the last two and a half years, Obama has tried spending the economy into prosperity with a nearly $1 trillion stimulus bill that was a dismal failure. Then came another spending binge in his cash for clunkers, cash for energy savers, cash for jobs and cash for climate-change businesses, all of which produced few if any jobs, but rewarded his party's special interests and expanded the size and cost of the government.

"Weak jobs data indicate the economic recovery remains in low gear, and policies other than big deficits and printing money are needed to get Americans back to work," says Peter Morici.

What America needs right now is a strong, permanent dose of venture capital investment to unleash the animal spirits of the largest economy in the world. That means cleansing the tax code of special-interest corporate welfare to boost tax revenue, slashing the top tax rate to the 28 percent that existed under President Reagan, and cutting the 15 percent capital gains tax rate in half. Then watch this economy take off.

Donald Lambro

Donald Lambro is chief political correspondent for The Washington Times.