Obama Says Stimulus Headed Off A Depression

At least that’s how Reuters describes it. The AP story on the president’s claim today that last year’s $800 billion porkfest kept America from going off a cliff uses slightly different language:

President Barack Obama says the emergency legislation he signed a year ago to help the struggling economy has saved at least 2 million jobs and avoided a deeper recession.

Speaking on the first anniversary of the American Recovery and Investment Act, Obama said that embracing the $787 billion measure “wasn’t a politically easy decision,” but said he had no choice.

He conceded that too many people still are in need of work and many more are struggling to pay bills. But Obama also chided critics. He said that many of the same lawmakers who assailed the stimulus bill “showed up at ribbon-cutting ceremonies in their districts.” But Obama also acknowledged that current economic conditions don’t “feel much like a recovery” to those who are still hurting.

Of course they don’t feel much like a recovery. There is no economic recovery:

Private employment

Employment ratio

The American Thinker’s Randall Hoven also adds the following numbers on employment since the beginning of the recession:

Changes in number of jobs in various employment categories, December 2007 to January 2010:
All non-farm: -6.1%
All private industry: -7.4%
Natural resources and mining: -7.8%
Durable goods: -19%
Goods producing: -19%
Construction: -25%
Government: +0.42%
Education and health: +4.3%

There are bits of economic news out there which indicate that some activity is returning out there, but in an economy which is driven by consumer spending (some 70 percent of the total) a persistent 10 percent unemployment rate – or worse, in terms of effective unemployment – will prevent any true recovery. And when the president’s idea of creating or saving jobs is to pump cash into cities and states to keep their bloated budgets above sea level rather than having the government stop intruding into the productive part of the economy and let it recover, there is no reason in sight for the real job creators in America to put capital at risk and expand their businesses.

We’re cheering for this economy to expand here at the Hayride. America needs a robust economic recovery. But there are policies which promote growth and policies which do not. Obama’s stimulus was of the latter variety, and he has offered scant little of the former – or even any indication that he would recognize an economic growth policy were one presented to him.

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