In a recent interview with The Economist, President Barack Obama said companies always complain about regulations.
"That’s their job. Let’s look at the track record. Let’s look at the facts. Since I have come into office, there’s almost no economic metric by which you couldn’t say that the US economy is better and that corporate bottom lines are better. None. So if, in fact, our policies have produced a record stock market, record corporate profits, 52 months of consecutive job growth, 10m new jobs, the deficit being cut by more than half, an energy sector that’s booming, a clean-energy sector that’s booming, a reduction of carbon pollution greater than the Europeans or any other country, a housing market that has bounced back, and an unemployment rate that is now lower than it was pre-Lehman—I think you’d have to say that we’ve managed the economy pretty well and business has done okay. There are always going to be areas where business does not want to be regulated because regulations are inconvenient."
Later in the interview he said, "If you look at what’s happened over the last four or five years, the folks who don't have a right to complain are the folks at the top."
The president didn't say a word about his porous border policy; a government that mistakes tax and spending for achievement, adding $6 trillion to the deficit; the dismissal of the State Department’s positive findings on the Keystone-pipeline project that could create thousands of jobs; or health reform that canceled existing policies and doctor relationships for millions, leaving Americans exposed to fraud and identity theft in the health exchanges.
Not a word about how the president is not in the chair when the VA crumbles, the NSA's tapping of Americans' and foreign leaders' phone lines, the IRS's targeting of conservative groups for extra scrutiny or the attacks from the Justice Department on Associated Press and Fox News reporters doing their job.
But the president's comments that his administration is responsible for the economy and stock market rebounding are dubious and overstated.
The economy continues to be bedridden as Congress remains in a permanent state of outrage. Gridlock is in play, as Democrats are taking their cue to keep fighting from a Nobel Peace Prize-winning president. The population is tired of a Congress in love with reform no matter what it looks like--with even the president in the interview with The Economist decrying the lunatic complexity of the Dodd Frank financial reform, and even his own health-reform bill. The economy has been in the protective custody of the Obama Administration for some time, as the berserk complexity of the U.S. tax code, exhibit A of legislative incompetence, continues to hurt job growth.
It’s curious to see the president make no mention of the Federal Reserve’s efforts to stop the financial collapse with trillions of dollars in help; yes, trillions, in all manner of credit facilities for banks here and overseas, as well as asset purchases and near-zero rates for more than five years.
Fresh smoke coming from the U.S. recovery engine continues to be evident in recent jobs and GDP results. Soggy performance, as part-time work and McJobs proliferate.
No mention in the interview of how more Americans than ever are not working, as the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports there are 11 million people out of a job but want to work, 92 million people are out of the workforce, and the labor force participation rate is at its lowest in 36 years. That figure includes the unemployed, stay at home parents and retiring baby boomers. .
Recently, the Bureau of Economic Analysis released its revised estimates of real gross domestic product, and the news? It revised downward its GDP findings for both 2011, to 1.6% and 2012 to 2.3%, while edging it up slightly for 2013 to 2.2%. Soggy flatline growth.
The U.S., as the Wall Street Journal has reported, has not seen growth of more than 3% since 2004 and 2005, 3.8% and 3.3% respectively. And during this recovery, the U.S. has not seen a year of economic growth that has surpassed 2.7%, a recovery now five years in. From the second quarter of 2009 when the recession ended to the first quarter of 2014, real GDP increased on average at just 2.1% annually.
The late Steve Jobs told the President in a sit-down meeting that companies are building factories in China versus the United States because "regulations and unnecessary costs" make it difficult for them to build at home. A situation the Heritage Foundation has quipped “red tape rising.” The size of the U.S.’s “regulation nation” is now bigger than six of the world’s biggest countries, notes the Competitive Enterprise Institute. It would be ranked the 10th largest nation, falling between India and Italy. Estimated U.S. regulatory costs of $1.863 trillion surpass the 2012 gross domestic product of India, Canada, Australia, Spain, Mexico and South Korea.
Elizabeth MacDonald joined FOX Business Network (FBN) as stocks editor in September 2007 and is the author of Skirting Heresy: The Life and Times of Margery Kempe (Franciscan Media, June 2014).
Follow Elizabeth MacDonald on Twitter @LizMacDonaldFOX.