Donald Lambro

This is a story of monumental implications -- economic, political and social -- yet the Washington news media has been complicit in playing it down, coming up with excuses, whitewashing the numbers, or ignoring them altogether.

In a nation with a work force that once numbered in the 160 million range, and that suffers from a serious shortage of good-paying jobs, two straight months of mediocre job numbers is front page news. But the Post buried January's jobs report inside.

The White House must have breathed a sigh of relief.

The nightly network news shows dutifully did their part by kissing off Obama's dreadfully sluggish job numbers. NBC's Brian Williams gave the report a few sentences and quickly went on to other, lesser stories.

When the networks do stories on unemployment, which is rare, one name is never mentioned: Obama. It is as if he is on one planet, and the chronically weak economy was on another, and neither he nor his policies have anything to do with the latter.

Not so when we heard about "Reaganomics" over and over each night in the 1980s, until Ronald Reagan ended the recession in two years, with the help of huge, monthly job creation figures in the hundreds of thousands.

Well, Obama and his supporters can make all of the excuses they want, and the news media can ignore it night after night, but the jobless American people who suffer so from Obamanomics know what's going on. And they're fed up.

The Gallup Poll, which regularly takes the pulse of the nation for its Economic Confidence Index, released new numbers Tuesday that found public confidence in the U.S. economy has fallen to its lowest level since December.

Last week, when the polling took place, only 39 percent of Americans "said the economy was getting better, while 55 percent felt it was getting worse." Nearly 40 percent of the latter called the Obama economy "poor."

"Americans are increasingly pessimistic about the future of the economy," Gallup said.

And no wonder. Look at the abysmally low economic growth rate under this administration, when compared with more recent presidencies. Here's what New York Times economics writer Nelson D. Schwartz wrote on Jan.30:

Even after including the fourth quarter's 3.2 percent GDP growth rate, "the economy has expanded at an annual rate of 1.8 percent under President Obama, half the pace of growth in the first five years of the Clinton administration," and below the 2.5 percent annual growth rate for George W. Bush in his first five years.

Don't be fooled by the lower 6.6 percent unemployment rate. It fell a notch, but "largely because 91,000 additional working-age adults chose not to seek employment," says University of Maryland business economic Peter Morici.

Most of the decline in the jobless rate has been due to our declining labor force, as a result of discouraged, long term unemployed adult workers who've given up looking for jobs that don't exist.

Weak employment growth is due to bad policies that have slowed business investment with higher capital gains and corporate tax rates, blunted energy production by blocking the XL pipeline, and undercut manufacturing growth because of Senate Democratic opposition to fast- track, job-creating, trade expansion.

Stanford University economist Keith Hennessey notes that Obama's policies are all about worker "protections" and "assistance" like those in France where the jobless rate is 10 percent.

"We're not there yet," Hennessey says, "but all of Obama's policies push us toward a European-style model."

Donald Lambro

Donald Lambro is chief political correspondent for The Washington Times.