Project 21 New Visions

Derryck Green

Economic Chickens Come Home to Roost


by Derryck Green (bio)

 

To take a phrase used by President Obama's former pastor, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, the "chickens are coming home to roost" for Obama and his economic policies.

Under Obama's watch, America's middle class is suffering.

It was recently revealed that over 11 million Americans will likely face a "no insurance" tax penalty if ObamaCare is fully implemented (with an estimated average penalty of $1,200). This directly contradicts Obama's promise to not raise taxes on families making less than $250,000 per year — which includes the middle class.

At the same time, the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey reveals that the average American household's real, inflation-adjusted income has dropped 5.7 percent during the Obama years. The median annual household income was $53,718 in June of 2009 (the last month of the recession). It has since fallen to $50,678 — $3,040 per household. It was even worse for black Americans, whose median household income fell 11.1 percent.

America also experienced newfound levels of debt as the U.S. budget deficit for the fiscal year ending on September 30 was over $1.2 trillion. Total American debt is now tops $16 trillion.

Additionally, the U.S. Department of Labor reports initial claims for in September unemployment benefits rose by 4,000 to a seasonally adjusted 367,000.

The Senate Budget Committee noted that, between April and June of 2012 (these months being the most current data available), only 200,000 jobs were created while 265,000 individuals joined the food stamp rolls. Simultaneously, 246,000 workers received disability payments. Between January of 2009 and June of 2012, the American economy lost a total of 1.3 million jobs while 5.7 million people got disability awards and a 15.1 million were added to the food stamp rolls.

Over at the Treasury Department, the Monthly Treasury Statement for September 2011 reported the federal government paid out just under $591.5 billion in benefits from the Old Age and Survivors Insurance Trust Fund during Fiscal Year 2011 (which ended on September 30, 2011). Through the end of August of 2012, the MTS indicated payments of over $594.6 billion from the same fund. That means the government doled more than $3.2 billion more in benefits than the previous year in just 11 months. It's a record amount.

To make things worse, the Social Security Administration estimated there are over 56 million people in America receiving Social Security and disability benefits — another increase and another record.

Furthermore, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce, the second quarter gross domestic product growth rate was cut from an estimated 1.7 percent to an actual 1.3 percent.

There is one economic factor President Obama is celebrating. September's jobs report shows unemployment fell below eight percent for the first time in 44 months. But there is concern it's too early to cheer.

If true, it seems to have taken Obama almost an entire term to lower unemployment to where it was when he took office. It's said that 114,000 jobs were added to the economy in September — lowering the unemployment rate from 8.1 percent to 7.8 percent. It also positively revised the amount of jobs created between July and September. Some experts suspect numbers may yet be revised again to paint a picture that's not as good as initially reported. For example, the U-6 unemployment rate — the total rate that includes those discouraged and not looking for work — remained rock steady at 14.7 percent.

Bottom line: Joe Biden was right about the middle class buried under Obama.

After nearly four years, Americans have a right to wonder when Obama's lofty promises of relief will be fruitful. Obama now claims to have a plan to cut debt by $4 trillion, but he also wants to raise a lot of taxes in the process. Such taxes could further cripple the middle class and small business owners.

Before America goes over a fiscal cliff, President Obama must comprehend the problem he's liberally and foolishly contributed to and adjust the course of our nation accordingly.

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Derryck Green, a member of the national advisory council of the Project 21 black leadership network, received a M.A. in Theological Studies from Fuller Theological Seminary and is currently pursuing his doctorate in ministry at Azusa Pacific University. Comments may be sent to [email protected].

Published by the National Center for Public Policy Research. Reprints permitted provided source is credited. New Visions Commentaries reflect the views of their author, and not necessarily those of Project 21, other Project 21 members, or the National Center for Public Policy Research, its board or staff.


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