A “step in the right direction.” That’s how President Obama described the anemic jobs report showing that just 80,000 jobs were created last month – 5,000 fewer than the 85,000 Americans who left the workforce to receive Social Security Disability payments, and just half of the roughly 150,000 new jobs needed just to keep pace with population growth.
Like many taxpayers, we are beginning to wonder exactly how many more steps in the President’s “right direction” America can afford to take.
And it isn’t just Mr. Obama’s abysmal record of job destruction that gives us pause.
The annual federal deficit has swelled by a whopping 600% since Democrats took control of Congress in 2006. Way back then, under Mr. Obama’s spendthrift predecessor George W. Bush, the deficit was a “mere” $160 billion. That number has ballooned to more than $1 trillion per year on Mr. Obama’s watch.
To put that in perspective, the total multi-year direct cost of the Iraq war was around $1 trillion – meaning that Mr. Obama has added the equivalent of an entire Iraq War to the national debt in every single year of his presidency.
And despite Mr. Obama’s catchy campaign rhetoric about “nation building here at home,” very little of that profligate spending has gone toward building anything – except perhaps a permanent class of slackers.
In 2000, for example, the federal government spent around $17 billion providing Food Stamps to some 17 million people. By earlier this year, however, the number of people on the dole had tripled to nearly 50 million – or one in every seven Americans – and the annual cost of the program has exploded to almost $80 billion, some five times above 2000 spending levels.
Worse, the government is actually spending tax dollars it doesn’t have on radio ads designed to entice even more loungers on to the program.
And Mr. Obama, who famously characterized Mr. Bush’s comparatively paltry deficits as “immoral,” isn’t through Europeanizing America just yet.
Not satisfied with having converted America’s social safety net into a hammock for loafers, Mr. Obama is now seeking to raise marginal tax rates for high income earners to an incredible, dare we say “immoral”, 39.6 percent.
The President’s own White House bean counters say the tax hike would generate $65 billion in revenue – not even enough to cover this year’s Food Stamp tab (let alone dent next year’s projected $1 trillion budget deficit), suggesting the proposal has far more to do with election year politics than fiscal responsibility.
Yes, it appears that Mr. Obama is willing to risk crippling an already flat-lining job market with a tax hike on employers if it earns him a few extra votes from the moochers who live on government handouts.
And who knows. The gamble may very well pay off. After all, a politician who takes money from Peter and gives it to Paul can always count on the vote of Paul.
And Mr. Obama has created an awful lot of Pauls over the last four years.