Donald Lambro

WASHINGTON - The bleak truth about the comatose Obama economy is not just that it's barely breathing, but that it's still not far from another recession.

President Obama's campaign bid for another four years is loosely based on the preposterous claim the economy is "moving forward." In fact, it's been falling backward or at least treading water on a number of fronts, and economic forecasters say it will weaken further under his policies, if he is re-elected.

Economists predict yet another weak jobs figure Friday that may push the unemployment rate up a bit, reminding undecided voters and even jittery Obama's supporters that the jobs picture isn't going to improve anytime soon under his failed presidency. It will continue to get worse.

The broadest and most accurate measurement of the American economy is its gross domestic product (GDP), which totals everything we make, produce, buy and sell here and abroad.

The 2011 fourth quarter GDP growth rate was a short-lived 3 percent. But this year it plunged to 2 percent in the first quarter and dropped to a barely-breathing 1.3 percent in the second.

Last week, the Commerce Department reported that third quarter GDP edged up to 2 percent, but economists and top economic writers said there was very little to cheer in this latest mediocre growth rate.

A 2 percent GDP "is nothing to write home about, given the high unemployment rate," Washington Post economic analyst Neil Irwin writes. It's "not enough to put the millions of jobless people back to work with any speed."

The Wall Street Journal reported that the Commerce "report's details and other recent figures suggest the economy is more likely to slow than accelerate in coming months."

Troubling symptoms emerged from that report, including like a 1.6 percent decline in U.S. exports, and a continuing weakness in business expansion that fell by an annualized rate of 4.4 percent. Business investment stalled last month as capital goods orders remained flat and employers held on to their cash reserves in the face of an increasingly uncertain and sluggish economy.

For weeks, there have been numerous published reports of businesses laying off workers, or declining to even fill job openings amid fears that Obama may let the Bush tax cuts automatically expire Jan. 1. That would drive up taxes for more than 90 percent of taxpayers which would drive the economy into a recession.

The National Association of Manufacturers said failure to prevent sharply higher tax rates from kicking in will kill close to 6 million jobs by 2014 and push the jobless rate to 12 percent.

Donald Lambro

Donald Lambro is chief political correspondent for The Washington Times.