Obama's Big Government 'Recovery' Boosts Big Business—and Not Much Else
2:44 PM, Aug 15, 2012 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
The AP writes, "The recession that ended three years ago this summer has been followed by the feeblest economic recovery since the Great Depression." It adds, "Since World War II, 10 U.S. recessions have been followed by a recovery that lasted at least three years. An Associated Press analysis shows that by just about any measure, the one that began in June 2009 is the weakest."
The historic weakness of this "recovery," however, hasn't hurt everyone. The AP writes, "Lower labor costs helped push corporate profits to a record 10.6 percent of U.S. GDP in the first three months of 2012, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. And those surging profits helped lift the Dow Jones industrials 54 percent from the end of June 2009 to the end of last month. Only after the recessions of 1948-49 and 1953-54 did stocks rise more."
But beyond Wall Street, the news isn't nearly so good. The AP writes:
"America's gross domestic product — the broadest measure of economic output — grew 6.8 percent from the April-June quarter of 2009 through the same quarter this year, the slowest in the first three years of a postwar recovery. GDP grew an average of 15.5 percent in the first three years of the eight other comebacks analyzed....
"[N]ew hiring has replaced 46 percent of the lost jobs, by far the worst performance since World War II. In the previous eight recoveries, the economy had regained more than 350 percent of the jobs lost, on average....
"Never before have so many Americans been unemployed for so long three years into a recovery. Nearly 5.2 million have been out of work for six months or more. The long-term unemployed account for 41 percent of the jobless; the highest mark in the other recoveries was 22 percent."
The AP continues:
"Usually, workers' pay rises as the economy picks up momentum after a recession. Not this time....
"[P]ay raises haven't kept up with even modest levels of inflation....Adjusted for inflation, wages have fallen 0.8 percent. In the previous five recoveries — the records go back only to 1964 — real wages had gone up an average [of] 1.5 percent at this point."
In the face of all of this rather terrible news for President Obama, the A.P. asserts—not too surprisingly—that part of the problem has been that government spending hasn't been high enough. It bases this curious claim on combined federal, state, and local spending supposedly not having quite subsequently matched the blowout spending levels of 2009—the year that Obama signed his $787,000,000,000 "stimulus" into law.
But for four years running now (2009-12), federal spending has been over 24 percent of the gross domestic product—a mark that we never once hit between WWII and Obama. Meanwhile, our national debt has risen from $9.986 trillion at the end of 2008 to almost $16 trillion today. So it's awfully hard to blame this anemic "recovery" on the government's excessive frugality.
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