If You Like Obama's Policies, You'll Love Clinton's

Donald Lambro
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Posted: Mar 09, 2016 12:01 AM
If You Like Obama's Policies, You'll Love Clinton's

Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign is based on the promise that if you liked Barack Obama's economic policies, she will continue them for the next four years.

In fact, she promises to double down on them by raising capital gains taxes, which would crush business expansion, job creation and stronger economic growth.

She has a number of other tax hikes up her sleeve to pay for dozens of new social welfare programs she wants to enact as part of her campaign strategy to outdo socialist Bernie Sanders in their race for the nomination.

But 65 percent of the American people think our country and its economy are going in the wrong direction, and with good reason.

Economic growth, as measured by the gross domestic product (GDP), dramatically slowed to a crawl in the last three months of 2015 to only 1 percent, and isn't doing so well in the first three months of this year, either.

"Employers added 242,000 positions in February, but 304,000 more Americans reported working part time," says business economist Peter Morici.

All the network news shows ballyhooed the first number, to suggest the economy was doing great, and all but ignored the second one. And major newspapers failed to mention it at all. Here's what TV news anchors left out of last week's February jobs report:

-- The "number of unemployed persons at 7.8 million was unchanged," according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

-- The number of long-term unemployed (those who were jobless 27 weeks or more), at 2.2 million, was unchanged, accounting for 27.7 percent of the nation's unemployed.

-- Another 6 million Americans were employed part time "for economic reasons" (also referred to as involuntary part-time workers), showing little change since November.

"These individuals, who would have preferred full-time employment, were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job," the BLS said.

-- Add another 1.8 million Americans whom BLS number crunchers define as persons who "were marginally attached to the labor force." They "wanted and were available for work, had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months," but they were not counted by the government as unemployed "because they had not searched for work in the four weeks preceding the (BLS) survey."

And that's one of the dishonest ways the government lowers the unemployment rate well below its real level.

The other scandal that raises its ugly head each month is the nature of the low-paying jobs Americans are being forced to take because good-paying ones are not available.

The news media report the bogus increase in total jobs, but don't point out that a very large number of them are in poorly paid retail jobs, including ambulatory health care services, food and beverage servers in bars or restaurants, and the larger retail sales sector.

The numbers of jobs created in these categories are sizable. Low-paid employment in food and drinking places added 40,000 jobs in February. But that's hardly the mark of a full-employment economy operating on all cylinders.

The decline in average hourly earnings also went largely unreported, with employees working fewer hours (34.4 hours) as employers cut their payroll costs.

The Obama economy's job anemia isn't just in the low-paying sectors. "Higher-paying jobs in manufacturing, mining and the oil patch continued to disappear," Morici points out.

The growing inability of millions of Americans to find full-time, good-paying employment combined with "sinking pay hardly paints a picture of economic health," Morici says.

The weak labor numbers, followed by recent declines in the stock market, and forecasts of the economy growing at less than 2 percent this year, have ignited fears of another recession.

Even Obama, who has been ignoring these and other economic troubles in his final year in office, was forced to defend his economy's subpar performance.

Cherry-picking numbers from another decade to make his case last Friday, he maintained that businesses were "creating jobs at the fastest pace since the 1990s."

But there is no possible comparison to the high-paying, high-tech job boom created in the last half of the 1990s as a result of a big cut in the capital gains tax rate that President Clinton signed into law to boost job growth.

Obama raised taxes on capital formation and is reaping a slowing economy that's clearly been one of the weakest in decades. He will go down in history as one of the most insular presidents in modern American history, one who has made one excuse after another for his failed economic record.

In the beginning, George W. Bush was to blame when the economy didn't come bouncing back in Obama's first term and unemployment was still high. Then when economic growth sagged and the economy stalled again, he blamed the weather. Now, Europe's recession and China's slower 4 to 5 percent growth rate is blamed for our 1 percent GDP.

As Obama blessedly heads toward the end of his term, he ignores the economy's weaknesses. Housing sales are nothing to write home about. Retail sales have been weak. People are adding a lot less debt to their credit cards, says the Fed. Chain stores are closing across the country. For many Americans, the economy has slipped back into first gear in his final months in office.

So now Hillary Clinton, who was once known by party moderates during the Clinton presidency as "the liberal in the White House," promises to follow Obama's agenda to the letter. She has pledged to raise taxes on the rich, including a higher capital gains tax her husband opposed because it would slow economic growth and kill jobs.

Thank God for the Republican Congress. If she wins in November, her soak-the-rich tax plan will be dead on arrival.