Investors Business Daily:
It hasn’t been two months since Barack Obama won re-election, but already we’re finding out things that were kept from us during the campaign. Expect to hear more in the coming months.
Elections are clarifying events, we’re told. But sometimes what they clarify is merely the gap between what we were told during the campaign and the reality on the ground. Often, the two don’t match. That’s certainly true with Obama.
How often in recent weeks have we learned that what we heard on the campaign trail from the Obama camp, and which were echoed by a cowed and subservient press, were either distortions or outright lies — enough to keep a majority of us fooled, and help win a second term for the incumbent?
Now, we’re finding the reality to be something different. And to jog your recollection, here are just a few:
• Economy: “The economy’s getting stronger … confidence is growing.” The media and Obama repeated these like a mantra. But as IBD reported earlier, real weekly earnings for American workers have fallen 3.5% since Obama took over, a declining trend that has continued post-election.
How about other signs of well-being? The Census Bureau reported after the election that the number of Americans in poverty grew by 712,000 people in 2011. A far-more bullish report issued in September said it had fallen by 96,000. Oh yes, and a record 47 million people today are on food stamps — up 47% since Obama took over.
Meanwhile, we also heard that consumer confidence was strengthening — and that would lead to a spurt of new economic activity in the new year. But in December, the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment index tumbled to 72.9, its lowest reading since June, from 82.7 in November.
Our own IBD/TIPP Economic Optimism Index fell 7.6% in December to 45.1, a pessimistic reading and the lowest since December 2011.
For small businesses, whom Obama regularly claimed to be helping while on the stump, the picture’s no better. The National Federation of Independent Business’ Small Business Optimism Index fell 5.6 points in December to 87.5 — one of its lowest readings ever.
“Between the looming ‘fiscal cliff,’ the promise of higher health care costs and the endless onslaught of new regulations, owners have found themselves in a state of pessimism,” said NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg. Remember: Small businesses create 80% to 85% of all jobs.
• Employment: Yes, unemployment has dropped to 7.7%. But only because hundreds of thousands of Americans have left the workforce. In September and October, nonpayroll farm jobs were reported as rising 148,000 and 171,000, respectively, solid gains. The mainstream media played it up as a major turnaround for the economy, giving Obama a boost.