White House Blamestorms Over Continued Weak GDP Numbers

by William Teach | April 29, 2016 6:55 am

Remember, Hillary wants to continue with similar economic policies if she becomes president

(Washington Post[1]) The White House labored Thursday to explain a first-quarter economic report showing the weakest growth in two years, even as President Obama was trumpeting his mastery of the economy in a New York Times Magazine interview.

The Department of Commerce reported that U.S. gross domestic product rose 0.5 percent in the first quarter of 2016, the third straight sluggish start to a year. Consumer spending and business purchases both fell, continuing trends that could have ominous implications for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign as she tries to claim the mantle as Mr. Obama’s successor.

Of all the metrics used to quantify economic well being, GDP is the most important. And GDP has been anemic during the vast majority of Obama’s presidency. This is the worst economic recovery since the Great Depression. So, of course, Blamestorming!

Jason Furman, Mr. Obama’s top economic adviser, blamed the first-quarter slowdown on “weak foreign demand and low oil prices,” and some private economists say growth should pick up later this year. But Republicans were quick to trumpet the disappointing number as an indictment of the administration’s economic stewardship.

Not too be outdone, Josh Earnest

White House press secretary Josh Earnest said that congressional Republicans were in part to blame for the weak growth, saying the economy would be stronger if Congress had agreed to Mr. Obama’s proposals for higher spending on infrastructure projects three or four years ago.

“The reason that opportunity was missed was because of Republicans’ stubborn refusal to consider any priority that President Obama has identified. That’s unfortunate,” Mr. Earnest said.

So, the answer is more government spending, per Earnest. Why is the answer never “grow the private sector”? Mr. Obama himself attempted to defend his poor economic record[2] in an interview with the NY Times, which is long on excuses. And Republicans were quick to pounce

“Today’s GDP report showing the weakest period of economic growth in two years is the latest sign the Obama economy isn’t working,” said Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus. “Despite all of the evidence Obama’s liberal policies are leaving middle-class families behind and holding back growth, Hillary Clinton thinks this president doesn’t get enough credit and wants to double down on his failed agenda.”

The only two metrics that seem to be doing well, at least on the surface, are the unemployment rate and stock markets. Of course, the unemployment rate is low due to historic numbers of people dropping out of the jobs market, and let’s not forget that wages are low, due to so many of the jobs being part time and service industry. As far as the stock market goes, I thought liberals hated Wall Street? GDP, along with earnings growth, are the two most important metrics for We The People. If you’re one of the 1%ers, you’re doing pretty well in the Obama economy. Otherwise, you aren’t doing so well. And if this continued poor GDP continues, Obama will have a historic record[3]

Again, assuming 2.67% RGDP growth for 2016, Obama will leave office having produced an average of 1.55% growth. This would place his presidency fourth from the bottom of the list of 39*, above only those of Herbert Hoover (-5.65%), Andrew Johnson (-0.70%) and Theodore Roosevelt (1.41%)

Congratulations, Mr. Obama! Of course, this means economic pain for the non-1%, who have suffered under your foolish economic and regulatory state policies.

Crossed at Pirate’s Cove[4]. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach[5].

  1. Washington Post: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/apr/28/wh-struggles-explain-weak-economy-obama-boasts/
  2. defend his poor economic record: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/01/magazine/president-obama-weighs-his-economic-legacy.html
  3. historic record: http://www.realclearmarkets.com/articles/2016/02/01/barack_obamas_sad_record_on_economic_growth_101987.html
  4. Pirate’s Cove: http://www.thepiratescove.us/
  5. @WilliamTeach: http://twitter.com/WilliamTeach

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