In a recent 60 Minutes interview President Obama was asked if he overpromised when selling his economic policies impact or underestimated how difficult it would be to fix the economy.
“I didn’t overpromise. And I didn’t underestimate how tough this was gonna be,” Obama said. “I always believed this was a long term project. . . It was gonna take more than a year. It was gonna take more than two years. It was gonna take more than one term. Probably takes more than one president.”
Because we seem to remember a certain 2009 interview when, in a moment of candor, you admitted that the burden was on you to get this recovery going.
“One nice thing about the situation I find myself in is that I will be held accountable,” Obama said. “I’ve got four years. . . And a year from now I think people are going to see that we’re starting to make some progress, but there’s still going to be some pain out there. If I don’t have this done in three years, then there’s going to be a one-term proposition.”
Well it’s been three years since Obama was elected and one-more year until the 2012 presidential elections. Are we seeing the progress Obama promised?
No. The unemployment rate in January of 2009 was 7.8 percent. The unemployment rate today? 8.6 percent. But as we’ve written before, even that is a mirage. As the start of the recession the employment-to-population rate was 62.7 percent. That rate is now 58.5 percent, meaning that even though jobs have been created over the last several months, it hasn’t been enough to keep up with the growth in population.
People have also been dropping out of the labor force right and left, further padding the unemployment rate. In fact, if the same number of people were looking for a job today, as there were in 2007, the unemployment rate would be 11 percent.
Those numbers like explain why a new CBS News poll reveals that 39 percent of Americans believe the economy is actually getting worse, while only 21 percent feel it is getting better. Moreover, they’re laying the blame on President Obama. The poll reveals that 68 percent of Americans, including 42 percent of Democrats and 72 percent of independents, believe that Obama has made “no real progress fixing the economy.”
While President Obama is flying around the country begging Americans to forget that whole “if I don’t have this done in three years…” thing and give him more time, House Republicans are putting in the work to get Americans back to work.
In addition to the 27 bills that the House has passed to create jobs, remove burdensome regulations and create a pro-growth business environment (all of which are awaiting action in the Dem-held Senate), the House is taking up the “Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act” tomorrow.
This bill would extend current payroll tax relief, to ensure Americans don’t see their taxes go up, and extends the Unemployment Insurance program, to provide a cushion for people who are looking for work. The bill also ensures that not only are these provisions paid for, but the bill would actually reduce the deficit by $5.8 billion over the next 10 years. Moreover, 90 percent of the proposed offsets come from provisions that the President has supported.
But alleviating the pain of unemployment isn’t enough. The bill also includes common-sense, cost-free jobs initiatives like expediting the approval of the Keystone XL pipeline and extending 100 percent expensing to encourage businesses to invest in new capital.
Despite the relief for the unemployed, the deficit reduction, and the potential for job creation President Obama has already threatened to veto the bill. Senate Majority leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has also said that the House bill is dead, and urged the House not to waste its time “because it will not pass the Senate.”
No wonder President Obama thinks this is going to be a long-term project. So long as he continues to reject common sense bills like this, the recovery will continue to stagnate. But Obama did get one thing right. This recovery is going to “take more than one president,” because frankly, he’s on the road to a “one-term proposition.”