01 Jul 2013 No One Winning Under Obama Economy, by Derryck Green
Unemployment is still well above seven percent. The recession ended long ago, but Americans are still hurting. Considering the politics of President Obama, however, should we really be surprised?
Remember when Obama was caught on an open microphone in early 2012 passing word to Vladimir Putin that he expected to have “more flexibility” after his re-election? He’s certainly made good on that assertion, and now openly exhibits progressive extremism.
The American economy is showing it’s not so flexible. In fact, it seems as if it’s about to break.
For June, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, the general unemployment rate stayed the same at 7.6 percent. But the more explicit “U-6” measurement of total unemployment — including those who can’t find work, can’t find enough work and gave up looking for work — skyrocketed to an abysmally high 14.3 percent.
And it’s not like Obama is rewarding his friends. Among those with the worst unemployment news are his key constituencies. Teenagers (read: new voters) are unemployed at an extremely high rate of 20.4 percent — and black teenagers are unemployed to the degree of 43.6 percent. Hispanic unemployment (read: new voters) is 9.1 percent. And black unemployment (read: locked-in voters) is 13.7 percent.
While not documented as a unemployment demographic, one Obama constituency seemingly doing well is the same-sex marriage community. They recently got a huge influx of federal benefits due to the Supreme Court’s invalidating the Defense of Marriage Act and overturning the will of California voters to define marriage as strictly a man-woman affair.
The Obama Administration’s steadfast support for homosexual rights over other special interests has rankled at least a few of his supporters. For instance, on Tavis Smiley’s radio show, Smiley’s friend Cornel West recently complained about “[t]he irony in the age of Obama in which black folks found themselves pushed to the back [of the bus, and] our gay brothers and lesbian sisters more and more pushed to the center.”
Beyond special interest jealousy in counting out their spoils, all Americans are losing under the policies of the Obama Administration. Despite a brief dip in unemployment close to Election Day 2012 (and how suspicious is that?), economic misery is getting worse. With more than three-quarters of Americans living paycheck-to-paycheck, the circumstances bode ill for the future of the republic.
Take the example of ObamaCare — the crown jewel of Obama’s presidency. So far, it’s led to higher premiums, higher taxes, layoffs, cut hours and rationing.
Exposing the foolhardiness of passing ObamaCare before finding out what was in it, the Obama Administration recently postponed enforcement of the employer mandate until 2015 (again, conveniently past an upcoming election).
This is the second major ObamaCare delay — the first being the delay of health insurance “exchanges” for small businesses. These exchanges, as pointed out by the National Center for Public Policy Research’s David Hogberg in his analysis of California’s exchange, are poised to enter a “death spiral” as healthy young people logically eschew costly health coverage in favor of the tax penalty. This lack of young and healthy participation will force older participants to pay more and make the exchanges even more unattractive to the young. Hence, the death spiral.
Already, Vermont and the District of Columbia have such low expectations regarding their exchanges succeeding that they have mandated that all businesses with less than 50 employees must participate in their exchanges. This is a direct contradiction to Obama’s promise that a person can keep their doctor. If a doctor is not in the exchange, he or she cannot serve a patient who is in the exchange.
And health care is only one of many economic woes these days. For instance, electricity prices in May were the highest for any May ever. And what is Obama doing about it? He announced executive actions in June that would further regulate the coal industry toward extinction, he has raised energy efficiency standards that will make products less safe and more expensive and he has doubled (or is it tripled or quadrupled?) down on the alternative energy boondoggles that brought shame to his first term.
Despite assurances from other Obama Administration officials after the speech that there is no “war on coal,” White House advisor Daniel Schrag told the New York Times “a war on coal is exactly what’s needed.”
So, in short, unless you’re a healthy, engaged (or married) homosexual union member working for an alternative energy company, there are some tough years ahead.
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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.