President Obama continues to prove how out of touch he is with the plight of the American people under his anemic economy. No, Mr. President, the economy and the private sector are not "doing fine."
Sure, Obama is pretending that he didn't mean it the way it sounded. But I am not buying that it was a gaffe. I watched the video, and he stated the point clearly and deliberately.
Obama is an incorrigible leftist ideologue who believes that only his statist policies can stimulate the national economy. He thinks that without the prodding, deficit spending and wisdom of the federal government, the private sector cannot recover on its own, much less flourish.
Now he has put his theories to the test, having run up unprecedented national debt in the process and producing nothing but failure. Even President Franklin D. Roosevelt's treasury secretary Henry Morgenthau admitted that FDR had spent a record amount of federal money for eight years and had amassed extraordinary debt without creating jobs or stimulating the economy. Why can't Obama learn from his own mistakes?
When his $868 billion stimulus bill didn't work, he demanded more infrastructure spending, and then came Stimulus Jr.: his $447 billion jobs bill. He only knows one course, and it involves expansion of government.
Though he intermittently assures us he's a fierce advocate of the free market, he revealed what he really thinks in his Osawatomie, Kan., speech, in which he revised history to conform to his unshakable belief that capitalism and free markets have only worked in America when the superior wisdom and generous pocketbook of the federal government have led the way against evil corporatists and profiteers.
His stubborn ideology blinds him from seeing or accepting the failure of his policies; to him, failure means that Bush left him an even worse "mess" than he thought and that his stimulus programs weren't big enough. He might grudgingly concede that the economy isn't doing as well as it could be, but he insists it'd be much worse if he hadn't implemented his agenda.
So when he told us that the private sector isn't performing poorly, he meant it. But unfortunately for him -- and for the rest of us -- the facts don't corroborate his statement.
As I report in my new book, "The Great Destroyer," President Obama has presided over the weakest recovery in more than 50 years. In every other recovery since World War II, employment had completely recovered within four years. The recession began in December 2007, and four years later, in December 2011, payroll employment was 4 percent below its pre-recession level. And private-sector employment was 4.5 percent below its pre-recession level. We'd lost some 5.6 million jobs, 5.2 million of which were private-sector jobs.
Indeed, private-sector job creation is at nearly record lows. Fewer existing businesses are hiring, and fewer entrepreneurs are starting new businesses, which means there are fewer jobs available for those in the job hunt. Get this: Prior to the recession, the economy was adding more than 5 million new employees each month, but under Obama, that level has been mostly at or below 4 million. Even though fewer employees are being laid off, unemployment remains very high because of these sluggish job creation figures.
It's not just that the economy is bad overall; it's that Obama has created an onerous regulatory tax climate that is sucking the oxygen out of the private sector particularly. His policies have led to an atmosphere of uncertainty that is paralyzing small businesses and preventing a robust recovery.
In fact, contrary to his promise to streamline federal regulations, he has amassed regulations at an unprecedented pace, and this is without even considering Obamacare, which is a regulatory tsunami waiting to happen. Also, he will preside over one of the largest tax increases in our history in a matter of months.
Unemployment hasn't been so consistently high since the recession of the early 1980s. Hardest hit have been African-Americans, whose unemployment reached a 27-year high, and the lowest 20 percent of income earners -- two groups Obama pledged to protect the most.
Through all this, the only sector barely hurt by Obama's economy is the public sector, which continues to grow at a record pace. The Heritage Foundation reports that federal employment has actually grown some 12 percent since the end of 2007. The nation's overall unemployment rate is 8.2 percent, but the unemployment rate for government employees is only 4.2 percent.
The major problem isn't simply that Obama made an erroneous statement that reflects his obliviousness or insensitivity toward the private sector and small businesses, as bad as that was. It's that he refuses to change course by removing his boot from the throat of small businesses, reducing discretionary spending and restructuring entitlements, without which we are destined to go the way of Greece.
David Limbaugh, brother of radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh, is an expert in law and politics and author of new book Crimes Against Liberty, the definitive chronicle of Barack Obama's devastating term in office so far.