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Are You Better Off Than You Were Two Years Ago?

As Americans prepare to celebrate the 4th of July it's worth asking, are you better off than you were two years ago when Democrats took over Congress? Are you better off than you were six months ago? If not, then consider what you have to look forward to for the next couple of years.

The Democrats in Congress and the Obama administration promised a peak unemployment of 8% if the stimulus legislation was passed. Now that that unemployment has blown through 9.4% in less than five months after its passage voters should think hard about some other unemployment data that paints a much more depressing picture of the U S economy. Those Americans that are employed are working on average 33 hours per week. As the Wall Street Journal notes, that's the lowest level in 40 years:

Average hours worked per week dropped to 33, the lowest level in at least 40 years. This means that millions of full-time workers are being downgraded to part-time, as businesses slash labor costs to remain above water. Because people are working less, wages have fallen by 0.3% this year. Factories are operating at only 65% capacity, while the overall jobless rate hit 9.5%. Throw in discouraged workers who want full-time work, and the labor underutilization rate climbed to 16.5%.

So what does Congress have on deck to address this underemployment and unemployment? A minimum wage hike from $6.55 an hour to $7.25 an hour. As real wages in the private sector are falling the government is mandating higher wages to accomplish what? Higher employment? Hardly. An increase in the minimum wage will exacerbate the already contracting market for jobs as employers continue to squeeze out cost savings in a shrinking economy.

Asked about the surprise surge in unemployment Thursday, President Obama had this to say:

"If we're weatherizing every building and home in America, if we are creating windmills and solar panels and biofuel facilities, that is a huge promising area not only for jobs here in the United States, but also for export growth."

That answer is on par with his "tune up" advice for car drivers last year when gas prices spiked. Has there ever been a more disengaged, clueless Executive on the matter of economic and fiscal policy? The answer is no because this president has set himself apart from the rest by advocating a massive energy usage tax (Cap and Trade),a massive health care tax, increased taxes on small business, and mandatory wage hikes on small business.....all in the first six months of office, all in the midst of the worst recession in forty years.

As the Journal editors correctly note, "a sustained expansion and job creation must come from private investment and risk-taking". There is nothing in President Obama's policy that encourages risk taking. In fact, there is much about the President's policy that encourages risk avoidance and tax avoidance, both of which behaviors are anathema to private sector growth. Democrats in control of both Congress and the Presidency offer little real hope and change for the unemployed. In light of the legislative milestones of the past six months Republicans need to exploit the gift their opponents are serving up to them: every unemployed and underemployed person is a swing vote worth fighting for.


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Comments (24)

The worst thing for the fut... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

The worst thing for the future of Democrats happened this week with the election of the 60th democratic senator. With such majorities on congress Democrats won't be successful in blaming Republicans for the deteriorating economy, particularly if they succeed in saddling the economy with carbon cap and tax and/or national health care. The best hope for Obama in 2012 is for Republicans to make significant gains in 2010, which will once again give Democrats an excuse as to why they failed. Maybe Republicans should pull a Palin and stand down in 2010.

Too bad Voodoo Economics is... (Below threshold)
Staylor:

Too bad Voodoo Economics is already taken. Can anyone think of good name for an economics plan that seems to hinge on the sacrifice of a virgin and alot of shouted gobbledygook?

Paganomics?
Scientology Economics?
Flying Spaghetti Monsternomics?

None of those seem to have the same ring.

Of course were not better o... (Below threshold)
TrueBlue:

Of course were not better off. We nearly had a financial meltdown before Obama took office.

You're RIGHT 'blue. THANK G... (Below threshold)
ODA315:

You're RIGHT 'blue. THANK GAWD Obama came to the rescue.

I'm personally thankful for him nationalizing businesses (taking equity positions from investors and giving them to the unions), giving billions of $ to ACORN and any pork project conceivable, pushing cap & tax for the "good of the children" (at least until they reach the age they start work and begin paying off the monstrous debt load), and discussing giving everyone healthcare (as Medicare and SS near insolvency).

I mean THINK people, it could have been SO BAD! "Whew, missed it by that much..."

of course!! but for the Ch... (Below threshold)

of course!! but for the Chosen One...
- an asteriod would have wiped out all life on Earth! prove otherwise!!
- a frog plague would have been annoying! prove otherwise!!
- NO ONE would have a job now (except Barry) prove otherwise!!
- greenhouse gases would have raised the temperature of the Earth to 4,000 degrees!!prove otherwise!!

etc...OF COURSE we're better off with the Big "O" /sarc


What we need is some more M... (Below threshold)
RScott:

What we need is some more Michael Jackson tributes then we'd be way better off.

I know you were asking some... (Below threshold)

I know you were asking something different, but NO, my family is not better off due to a few things this administration is trying to push through.

First off, there is legislation that would require me to micro chip all my farm animals but the big farm corporations will be able to chip the herd as one. This will put us out of business-as why micro chip a chicken that costs us a dollar or less, and we eat in five months(and we have nearly 120 animals and birds)

Second off, similar legislation would challenge the products we grow on our farm and take to the Saturday Farmer's Market. It is once again set up to break the bank in rules, or bankrupt us with fines if we cannot meet all the law...

Thirdly, the unease of placing our children under the UN Rights of The Child as this would jeopardize our right to homeschool..

Each one of these individually have made our lives uneasy--and they are all pending. What has made our lives worse is the tremendous pressure we have placed on our economy in what appears only to be to make it crash. We cannot prepare enough for the apparent sabotage that is happening by our Congress and President. We are worse off with the expediting of the Stimulus package that has so much tossed in that we may already be doing things criminally or may owe moneys for things---as we have no real comprehension of what exists in it.

Our lives are far worse off when a member of congress has the ba*lls to add 300 pages to the Cap and Trade bill and then refuse to grant the opposing side to have a copy...we are in dire times when our Congress(which has most likely been narcissistic for a long while) now blatantly ignore the will of the people for what they deem the greater good which I believe that they see as a socialistic society and capitalism must be tossed aside.

I for one am no longer seeing America in 20 years, as I believe that our Government is seriously trying to bring her down. I am deeply saddened that many citizens wishing for something different, bought in the messiah and his cronys of Illinois...as we have no hope and far to left of change for me to recognize my homeland.
Jennifer

Staylor, I just go with "Ch... (Below threshold)

Staylor, I just go with "Chicagobamanomics".

Man, the last time unemploy... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

Man, the last time unemployment was this high was 2 years INTO the Reagan Administration!

I believe the conservative mantra then, and still is now, was "It's Jimmy Carter's fault!"

What's the matter, not magnanimous enough to grant liberals the same privilege?

Yes. My business gross shou... (Below threshold)
Paul Hooson:

Yes. My business gross should be considerably more than last year, so yes, I'm better off each year. However, that's because of my own private investments and my own business instinct skills. Regardless of a bad economy, or political leadership, wise persons can still make money in any business or political climate.

gee, Paul Hooson, you are <... (Below threshold)
Zaugg:

gee, Paul Hooson, you are smarter than the rest of us but where is your empathy for the downtrodden? You can't possibly think that we are heading in the right direction economically. You will get all of your socialist programs at a great cost to our freedom.
The storm is coming.

Bruce, you must have a shor... (Below threshold)
HughS:

Bruce, you must have a short memory.

Reagan was under vicious attack from the likes of Sam Donaldson, Katherine Graham, Ochs-Sulzberger and Tip O'Neill. There was no honeymoon for him. Remember also that Reagan pushed for tax reductions that that gave relief to small business because he knew that was the only way out of a severe recession. He also promoted a restrictive monetary policy that probabaly cost him the 1982 mid terms.

Obama is doing the opposite on taxes and monetary policy and enjoys the adulation of a fawning press.

Magananimty has nothing to do with the debate.

Speaking of the economy and... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

Speaking of the economy and small business. Read in the paper this morning that the Great and All-Knowing California Air Resources Board wants to eliminate all seawater cooling of electrical power plants located along the coast by 2018. It's estimated that this will add 2 BILLION in electrical costs annually. Don't forget, these are the same idiots who 'deregulated' electrical rates 10 years ago in order to 'save' money....and then saw rates go through the roof. I suppose these geniuses also believe that the added costs won't be passed on to consumers.

Paul, I think you just unwi... (Below threshold)

Paul, I think you just unwittingly admitted that you're not really a liberal.

"Regardless of a bad economy, or political leadership, wise persons can still make money in any business or political climate."

If I had written something like that in a comment at WizBlue (or any liberal site) I would be immediately trashed as an evil, heartless, greedy, hate-mongering, bigoted Reaganite son of a bitch.

Then again, perhaps you've opened up a window into the true thinking of wealthy businessmen who support liberal tax and spend government policies -- "I've got mine, so what?"

Sure, the government can provide make-work jobs caulking windows for $15 an hour. But Paul, why do you and your ilk support policies that destroy or severely retard the opportunity for the private sector to expand good-paying professional jobs? Do you really think that educated professionals like financial advisers and CPA's should trade their careers for jobs like installing solar panels that have zero opportunity for career advancement and no capacity to provide professional fulfillment?

If your business fails, would you be just as eager to go to work for President Obama caulking windows and installing solar panels as you are managing your own retail store? Seriously, I'd like to know.

(If liberals really believe in this stuff, then I'd suggest we remove as many of them from Congress as possible next year, so we have a lot of extra hands for all those caulking guns.)

Hello Michael, I'm probably... (Below threshold)
Paul Hooson:

Hello Michael, I'm probably more a social liberal only, but more of a pragmatic centrist in some other areas. I certainly support the concept of a safety net for others, and support the expansion of labor unions to protect workers. But at the same time I believe that even in the worst of economic times, it is more than possible to find business or economic opportunity to swim uphill. Look at the Salmon, despite all odds they swim upstream in some rough waters, while other fish are just washed downstream with the flow.

I sure hope I'm coming across as motivational, rather than arrogant here. But I believe this to be a reality, that you can always find opportunity in even the worst of times. Even during the Great Depression, some great businesses developed, creating new markets even against the backdrop of terrible times.

What's a thread without Pau... (Below threshold)
Ran:

What's a thread without Paul patting himself on the back!

Hoosan, Have you inv... (Below threshold)

Hoosan,
Have you invited the service union into your
store yet? If not, why not?
Keep us apprised of when this event occurs
and how that plan goes.
I think inquiring minds at Wizbang would love
to know.

C'mon Paul, you made at lea... (Below threshold)
epador:

C'mon Paul, you made at least some of your money the old fashioned way, right?

Two years ago, my 401K was ... (Below threshold)
MichaelR:

Two years ago, my 401K was at $250,000 and I was employed making $150K a year.

Now my 401K is $117,000, and I'm unemployed, so no, the hopey changey thing ain't working for me.

The upside is I have not contributed 1 dime of tax money to the marxist regime since the end of January, so I got that going for me. That's $10,000 Obama got to spend that he does not have, nor will he ever get.

Bruce Henry You al... (Below threshold)
retired military:

Bruce Henry

You also forget that the dems held solid control of the House and Senate during that time.

"What's the matter, not magnanimous enough to grant liberals the same privilege?"

They have the privilege now and you see where we are.

BTW for the servicemembers who gave their lives so you can spew your nonsense and talk about them enhancing their resume at your tax dollars expense.

SCREW YOU.

Brucie deliberately ignores... (Below threshold)
Michael:

Brucie deliberately ignores the fact that the Dimos controlled the House and Senate during the the last two years of Bush. Typical lib dishonesty.

"Are You Better Off Than Yo... (Below threshold)
Jake:

"Are You Better Off Than You Were Two Years Ago?"

Yep, have a thriving, growing consulting practice that is finding a great place in our market because and in spite of the economic situation.

"Are You Better Off Than Yo... (Below threshold)
SpideyTerry:

"Are You Better Off Than You Were Two Years Ago?"

God no.

Paul is right, people get r... (Below threshold)
Ryan:

Paul is right, people get rich during recessions but here's the problem, more people get richer during maximization of free market capitalism.
~DocJ




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