Donald Lambro

"We've had a significant falloff," global economist Euler Hermes told Forbes.

A chief reason economic growth has slowed, he says, can be found in a separate Bureau of Economic Analysis report which shows that personal income "hasn't grown in several months, making it unlikely consumer demand will pick up in the months ahead."

While some economists are forecasting GDP growth may reach 3 percent later this year, even that would be sub-par for our economy.

"The U.S. is not on the verge of a boom. GDP growth of 3 percent would be the fastest rate since 2005, (but) it is still well below the average of 4 percent in the 1990s," Hermes said.

That was in President Clinton's second term after he had cut the capital gains tax rate, triggering a wave of new venture capital investment that led to stronger economic growth and a job boom, especially in the tech sector.

Under Obama, on the other hand, the capital gains tax has risen for high-income investors, reducing risk-taking and shrinking job growth. That's why investors have grown more pessimistic about the direction of our economy and why the stock market has been in decline.

"As it stands right now, the first-quarter 2014 growth rate is likely to be slower than" the fourth quarter in 2013, says Steve Blitz, the chief economist at ITG Investment Research.

Why was 2013 such a lackluster year for the economy?

Morici, in an analysis last week, spelled out what happened during the course of the year. In a nutshell, he says, government tax increases were largely to blame.

"Throughout 2013, higher taxes on all income classes -- President Obama's levies on the wealthy, higher local taxes on the middle class, and reinstatement of Social Security taxes on lower income workers -- depressed consumer spending."

The remaining three years in Obama's economy are unlikely to get much better, if the latest economic figures and studies are any forecast of the future.

A Washington Post article headlined "Future bleak for long-term jobless" highlighted a study presented last week to the liberal Brookings Institution that told why millions of jobless Americans can't expect to find work anytime soon.

Former White House economic adviser Alan Krueger, co-author of the study, calls "people who have been out of a job for six months or more an 'unlucky subset of the unemployed' who exist on the margins of the economy -- with faint hope of returning to productivity," the Post said.

Interest rates are headed up, driven higher by the Fed's grossly mistaken belief that the economy is improving, and thus it can take its foot off its stimulus pedal. That will likely wreak havoc with the housing industry, shrinking home sales and the availability of construction jobs.

The average rate for the 30-year mortgage rose to 4.40 percent recently, according to government mortgage buyer Freddie Mac. And it's likely to go higher.

The number of Americans who signed contracts to buy existing homes fell for the eighth month in February. That's the lowest level since 2012, says the National Association of Realtors.

This economy stinks. And even though it's not getting reported on the evening news, the American know that our country has been moving in the wrong direction ever since 2009.


Donald Lambro

Donald Lambro is chief political correspondent for The Washington Times.