On Wednesday, President Obama embarks on another campaign-style tour, highlighting his “renewed” focus on the economy. The White House plans for Obama to “take credit” for progress on the economy and use it to frame the upcoming fight over the debt ceiling and federal budget. The tour, however, comes as new signs emerge that the economy is weakening.
Economists surveyed by the Wall Street Journal recently downgraded their estimates of second-quarter GDP growth. Just last month, they estimated that GDP grew a weak 1.9%. Now, however, they believe growth was an even weaker 1.5%. Several estimate that growth fell below 1% for the second time in the past three quarters, though.
The recession officially ended almost exactly four years ago. In that time, we’ve had nearly $1 trillion in direct stimulus and over $4 trillion in federal deficit spending stimulus. Together the infusion into the economy over the past four years amounts to around one-third of the entire annual economy. Yet yearly growth in the economy has been an anemic 1-2%.
These Obama tours refocusing on the economy have become a staple of his Presidency. He usually returns to the issue when his popularity is slipping or wants a distraction from other issues. In the fall of 2011, with the lowest approval ratings of his presidency, he addressed a joint session of Congress to unveil a jobs package. Towards the end of his reelection campaign, with polls showing a very close race, Obama released a 20-page economic plan.
In the State of the Union address this year, after a focus on gun control which caused a drop in his approval, he refocused on the economy. Just two months ago, when revelations about Benghazi and IRS targeting dominated the headlines, Obama embarked on a two-city tour for jobs.
With his approval numbers down again and problems arising with the implementation of ObamaCare, Obama is again refocusing on the economy. It’s the longest running mini-series in politics. Unfortunately, though, it never has a happy ending for the taxpayer.