As President Obama approaches the end of his fifth year in office, he's nearing the time for his annual report card. It isn't a pretty picture.
Americans are giving him failing grades, as polls show his job approval scores plunging to the lowest level in his presidency. Only 41 percent approve of his performance in office, while 52 percent now disapprove of the overall job he's been doing.
There are plenty of reasons for Obama's dismal marks: from his foreign policy blunders, a troubling decline in our national security defenses, to a still high unemployment economy that remains sub-par and sluggish. Throw in the Obamacare debacle that's become a disastrous metaphor for his administration's incompetence.
However, these and other failures aren't being pointed out just by his Republican opponents, but by Democrats, too, who are deeply troubled by what they see on a range of issues.
New York Times economics columnist Paul Krugman, one of Obama's earliest supporters, recently raised the prospect of a painfully weak, job-starved economy lasting a great deal longer than most economists expected.
"What if depression-like conditions are on track to persist, not for another year or two, but for decades?", the Nobel Prize-winning economist wrote late last month in his widely-syndicated newspaper column.
Krugman's answer is that "economic reality is what it is. And what that reality appears to be right now is one in which depression rules will apply for a very long time."
Krugman is not alone in his dire depiction of the Obama economy. Other Democrats were saying the same thing, including Lawrence Summers, the former chairman of Obama's White House Economic Council, and secretary of the Treasury under President Clinton.
In a recent, high profile lecture before the International Monetary Fund's annual research conference, Summers said for the first time that we could be in for a long period of "chronic and systemic economic sluggishness."
In other words, this economy isn't going to get much better, folks. We're going to slog through a painful, jobless period for the rest of Obama's presidency. More on this in a moment.
More recently, the two House and Senate leaders of the national security intelligence committees in Congress -- including Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California -- said that America now faces a growing terrorist threat.
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