While the talk among the political class is of guns and gay marriage, the concern out in the country is, doubtless, about jobs and economic growth. And the hope is that the recovery will show a little pride and act like a real recovery and that business will start expanding and hiring. The prospects, however, are not promising. Not according to the National Federation of Independent Business, whose chief economist, William C. Dunkelberg, issued this statement following the organization's March employment report:
... while actual job creation appears to be rising, plans to create jobs took a dive, falling 4 points to a net zero percent of small employers who plan to increase total employment. It seems that the stamina for growth is waning, even with decent reports on consumer spending at the macro level.
In response to the news today that the economy contracted -.1 percent in the final quarter of last year, Democrats are touting the claim that this is "the best-looking contraction in U.S. GDP you'll ever see." The claim was originally made by chief U.S. economist for Capital Economics Paul Ashworth.
Americans must be wondering how much more of this “recovery” they can afford. New figures from the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey, compiled by Sentier Research, show that the typical American household’s real (inflation-adjusted) income has actually dropped 5.7 percent during the Obama “recovery.” Using constant 2012 dollars (to adjust for inflation), the median annual income of American households was $53,718 as of June 2009, the last month of the recession. Now, after 38 months of this “recovery,” it has fallen to $50,678 — a drop of $3,040 per household.
Bill Clinton, who rode a recession into office and left the scene just before another one began, knows something about the blame game. Addressing the Democratic convention on Wednesday night, he made a full-throated effort to defend the Obama presidency by putting it in the context of past Republican failure.
Why would the president oppose raising taxes when economic growth was 5.6 percent but propose raising taxes when it’s at 1.9 percent? When it’s politically advantageous to be seen as raising taxes on the rich.
When did President Obama change his mind on the wisdom of raising taxes in an economic downturn? And, perhaps more important, if the U.S. economy slipped back into recession, would the president abandon his proposals to raise taxes on the wealthy?
President Obama just announced from the White House a plan to maintain current tax rates for the middle class, while hiking the tax rates for those earning above $250,000 per year. And while Republicans have already voiced opposition to the president's plan, Democrats are now beginning to express their dissatisfaction.
Today, President Obama said, “It has typically taken countries up to ten years to recover from financial crises of this magnitude.” In truth, however, the historical norm has been as follows: the deeper the recession, the stronger the recovery.
Last year, the mega-law firm Dewey & LeBouef generated revenue totaling $782 million. It was the 20th largest firm according to the National Law Journal. Its clients included the Los Angeles Dodgers, the NFL Players Association, and eBay. But over the last five months, 206 of its partners defected. It currently owes approximately $315 million to creditors. There is a criminal investigation involving a pension plan allegedly underfunded by $80 million. Last week, the legacy firm, which dates back to 1909 (and whose "Dewey" refers to the Thomas Dewey), filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
When dealing with budgets, a spending cut is routinely defined as a reduction from previously planned spending, i.e. if we planned for spending to increase by 4% and it only increases by 3% there's been a spending cut.