That might shock those who swallow the Obama administration's argument that it has produced significant job growth and reduced unemployment. That's all wonderful until you run into someone who has been unemployed for years and is not even counted in the unemployment figures. The fact is that the American people can feel it when things are not improving, and despite being told that the nation is making the turn toward a strengthening economy, the public feels the squeeze at every turn.
Yes, we keep being told things are getting better, like the advance estimate of the first quarter's gross domestic product, which was originally reported at 2.2 percent. Oops, that number was revised at the end of May to be a tepid 1.9 percent. That is hardly news for celebration and additional reason not to trust any rosy projections that might arrive right before the November elections. Oh, and by the way, sales for existing houses dropped in April, shocking the experts who did not see it coming.
Of course we are all told, based on our antiquated way of measuring inflation, that the cost of goods and services in America is really not rising much at all. Perhaps that is the case, but it seems hard to leave a grocery store these days with any reasonable amount of products and not drop at least a hundred dollars. And all of this for food and other products that seem to be in smaller and smaller packages. I guess that's not inflation, it's just imagination.
As for the thrill we should all have over the decline in gas prices, well, many just are not so overjoyed. We are nowhere near the average price for gas on the day President Obama was inaugurated. That price, even "deemed" as correct under this new print media "judge and jury" known as "Politifact," was $1.79. While oil prices rise and fall (and, curiously, often fall when the public starts to really complain), the price in most areas of the nation is well into the three dollar plus range. Now, of course, that's not inflation, it's just imagination.
Let's just tell the truth: Our health care premiums are rising, interest rates on credit cards soared partially due to overreaction by the Obama administration, college tuition is getting out of hand, and the list goes on and on. Who wants to buy in an economy in which the statistics the government uses suggests costs are barely rising, but in which at the end of the week people have empty pockets or big additions to their credit cards?
What about the other side of the equation -- savings and investments? Because we allegedly have no real inflation, the Federal Reserve is giving money away, and their low interest rates also guarantee that you will get next to nothing for parking your money in a money-market account. In fact, about the only place the average American can make any real money is in the stock market. This is a market that has risen while the rest of the nation has been stalled out. Now does anyone really trust the stock market long term, in light of the high jinks we have seen surrounding just the new public offering of Facebook stock? The answer is, not likely.
Businesses are already building in the increased costs of doing business in America if Obama wins a second term. They have already been regulated to death, but the threats that come with four years, particularly if Republicans do not control both the House and Senate, have virtually every entity that employs people -- from the largest to the smallest -- preparing for the worst.
They know an Obama re-election means that the Bush tax cuts go away and that marginal rates will rise for virtually anyone who participates in our free enterprise system. Most deductions will disappear, and the natural reaction from businesses will be to trim more fat (is there any left to trim?) and try to charge more for a product or service.
If anyone doubts how desperate companies can get in a crunch, just look to the airlines. Most charge you extra for everything but the supply of oxygen and cabin pressurization onboard. If we don't look out, they may start charging us to breathe while in flight.
It appears President Obama believes in his own form of trickledown economics -- we just trickle down to nothing.