Donald Lambro

Obama has been declaring that manufacturing jobs are coming out of the woodwork, but nothing could be further from the truth, something he knows little about.

"The U.S. manufacturing sector isn't collapsing, but it is definitely flat-lining," Washington Post economic writer Neil Irwin reported Tuesday. Contrary to Obama's exaggerated claims, the numbers "reflect weak growth" Irwin says.

The manufacturing sector added an average of 5,000 jobs nationally each month this summer, he notes, but that was down from an average of 19,000 a month last year.

"Manufacturing recovery? What manufacturing recovery?" Irwin asks. His story was buried on page 13.

If there's one word that defines the economy in Obama's inept presidency, it is "uncertainty." And it's slammed the brakes on business expansion, job creation, consumer spending and economic growth.

Businesses aren't hiring because they're afraid of the massive employee benefit costs and taxes from Obama's employer health care mandates. Obama's insistence that income taxes must be raised on small businesses and all Americans in the top two income brackets further adds to their uncertainty.

The "fiscal cliff" that awaits the economy at year's end, largely because of Obama's opposition to making the 2001 tax cuts permanent, only adds to this economic paralysis. If we go over that cliff, when 90 percent of Americans will be hit by severely higher taxes, it could plunge the country into another recession.

The result of all this is that Americans, businesses and investors are socking their money away in Treasury bills and other forms of savings that has kept trillions of dollars out of risk-taking investments needed to create jobs and boost growth.

At the same time, "other data show that Americans are fleeing the stock market and avoiding the purchase of new homes," the Post reported Tuesday.

"They've been burned by the stock market. They've suffered through capital losses on their homes. And so they're hunkering down in what they view as the safest place to store money," says Karen Dynan, co-director of economic studies at the liberal Brookings Institution.

Americans have good reason to be fearful. Jobs are in short supply, median family household income is declining, and the poverty rate has risen to a record 15 percent, with 46.2 million people now in poverty. On any given night, at least 700,000 Americans are homeless.

If you think the economy is going to get better anytime soon under Obama's anti-growth policies, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke sent a grim signal Monday that the Fed will keep its near-zero interests rates in place at least through mid-2015.

Romney's debate strategy will be to stay on offense on the economy's weaknesses. He can't let the president tie him down with distractions that have nothing to do with the hard times Americans are facing under his policies.

Obama's had four, long, insufferable years to fix the economy and he's failed to do it. Unemployment is still over 8 percent. Add underemployment among part-time workers seeking full-time and college grads who can find work at all, and the real rate is over 15 percent.

The only reason unemployment fell from 10 percent was because millions of discouraged Americans stopped looking for work and are thus no longer counted among unemployed.

Romney spent his entire business investment career creating jobs here in America, so he knows how to get that done. After four long years, it should be manifestly clear that Obama doesn't.

Donald Lambro

Donald Lambro is chief political correspondent for The Washington Times.