Are the policies being pursued and promised now likely to suddenly propel the current sluggish expansion into a long-term growth cycle like those in the 1980s, 1990s or 2000s?
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke does not seem confident that will be the case. As slow as the economy grew in the first quarter, Bernanke told the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday he thought it grew even slower in the second quarter.
The Fed, he told the committee, expects GDP to grow 1.9 percent to 2.4 percent this year and 2.2 percent to 2.8 percent next year.
"These forecasts are lower than those we made in January, reflecting the generally disappointing tone of the recent incoming data," Bernanke said in written testimony.
Bernanke predicted the unemployment rate would still be "7 percent or higher" by the end of 2014 -- or, in other words, past the time when the average post-World War II expansion would have given way to a new recession.
Obama has made chronically high unemployment a new feature of the American economic growth cycle.
Bernanke cited what he called two main sources of risk: "The first is the euro-area fiscal and banking crisis," he said, "the second is the U.S. fiscal situation."
"As is well known, U.S. fiscal policies are on an unsustainable path, and the development of a credible medium-term plan for controlling deficits should be a high priority," said Bernanke. "At the same time, fiscal decisions should take into account the fragility of the recovery."
President Obama's submitted a budget for fiscal 2013 that does not anticipate balancing the budget any time in the next decade. His plan for dealing with the impending fiscal apocalypse is to increase taxes and move ahead with the new entitlement and regulatory programs of Obamacare.
Obama's current tax plan envisions that on Jan. 1, 2013, the income tax rates will increase for every American individual and small business owner earning more than $250,000, and, then, on Jan. 1, 2014, income tax rates will increase for everybody else.
Obamacare not only mandates that by 2014 every individual must buy health insurance, it also effectively mandates that small businesses must buy insurance for their employees once they hire their 50th worker (or pay a penalty) and that taxpayers must subsidize the health insurance premiums for people earning up to 400 percent of the poverty level.
Yes, today we are in the Obama recovery. Sooner than they think, Americans may inherit the Obama recession.
In Honor of His 103rd Birthday, Here Are The 20 Best Quotes From The Late, Great Milton Friedman | John Hawkins