Donald Lambro

As President Obama nears the end of his fifth year in office, his toughest job is dreaming up new excuses for his administration's mounting failures.

This month he is beset by multiple challenges to explain why the rollout of his massive national health insurance system is plagued by failures, and why job creation fell to another new low in his persistently weak economy.

Obama and his White House excuse factory have come up with some doozies in the last week or so.

The systemic breakdown in Obama's online health care insurance marketplace, they said, is due to Obamacare's huge popularity and wasn't able to deal with the millions of Americans who were clamoring to sign up. I'll deal with this whopper in a moment.

As for the shrinking number of jobs being produced by the Obama economy -- contrary to claims it is "moving in the right direction" -- Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said Sunday that last month's falling employment figures were due to the government's shutdown.

Wait a minute. How can that be? The 16-day, partial shutdown took place this month, while the Bureau of Labor Statistics' figures were all about job creation that occurred last month when the government was open and operating a full throttle.

But there was Lew, one of the most impotent Treasury secretaries in the nation's history, telling NBC's Meet the Press Sunday that this month's shutdown was responsible for the weakening job creation forecasts.

"I can't give you a number today of what it is, [but] I know the direction," he said. "The direction is, it took an economy that is fighting hard to get good economic growth going to create jobs for the American people, and it took it in the wrong direction. Our job in Washington is to move it in the right direction."

Lew is making all of this up as he goes along, hoping American's won't notice his silly, Pinocchio-like excuses that make no sense at all. Obama's economy has been moving in the "wrong direction" for a long time.

Economic growth averaged little more than a measly 2 percent over the last four years. It is forecast to drop to 1.8 percent in the third quarter.

Employers created just 148,000 jobs in September, far below the 180,000 that economists and forecasting firms were predicting. Some estimated that the job force would grow by 200,000.

But the private sector accounted for a mere 126,00 of BLS' September total, whose data was mostly gathered and assembled before the shutdown.

Donald Lambro

Donald Lambro is chief political correspondent for The Washington Times.