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Monday, January 18, 2016

The Economy and the Race for President

For John, BLUFIf the President actually believes his rhetoric, it is a problem.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Yesterday, writing at Real Clear Politics, Ms Salena Zito gave us "Obama Sired America's Discontent".

Ms Zito is a Columnist for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.  If you don't like what she says you can EMail her at

Here is how this column starts out:

Commuters driving Pittsburgh's old Lincoln Highway alignment last week caught the last glimpse of the pillars of steam from the Shenango coke plant on Neville Island.

Nearly 60 years after the furnace started producing coke for the once-booming steel industry that personified America's strength and work ethic, it is closing — affecting 173 union and non-union employees — as yet another business that made things ends its run.

Days later, Pittsburgh-based Koppers, which converts steel-production waste into carbon-based chemicals for aluminum, vinyl and wood preservatives, announced that 52 employees would lose their jobs when it shuts its Clairton plant this spring.

Both life-changing events for long-term employees served as bookends to President Obama's State of the Union speech Tuesday.  Among the many things he mocked in it:  anyone who denies that he led a national economic resurgence.

“Anyone claiming that America's economy is in decline is peddling fiction,” he said.  He shamelessly went on to embellish statistics, claiming 14 million new jobs, including 900,000 manufacturing jobs.

Afterward, FactCheck.orgshowed that it's more like 9 million jobs, many of them lower-paying service jobs.  And, over Obama's time in office, manufacturing jobs have plummeted by 230,000.

In short, if you “made” something in the Obama economy, you lost your job; if you “served” someone, you got a job — but probably needed two, so you could make ends meet.

I like this column because (1) it reflects the economic facts and (2) it echoes what I have been saying—Mr Trump's candidacy was the result of Mr Obama's time as President.  Without Mr Obama there would be no Mr Trump, no Doctor Carson, no Senator Sanders in the race at this point.  Maybe not even a Senator Ted Cruz.

Regarding the economy, there is still a lot of misunderstanding out there.  Early this morning The Old Gray Lady posted to its web page a story on "French President Declares Economic Emergency".  The lede was:

French President Francois Hollande pledged Monday to redefine France's business model and declared what he called "a state of economic and social emergency," unveiling a 2-billion-euro ($2.2 billion) plan to revive hiring and catch up with a fast-moving world economy.
A "fast-moving world economy"?  China's economy is in trouble and while Iran just got a $1.8 billion infusion from the United States, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is in trouble, as are other Gulf States, as oil prices sag.  And, there are the PIIGS.  How are they doing?  The US U-6 Unemployment figures, as Senator Bernie Sanders likes to point out, are not good.  They represent a lot of people dropping out of the labor force and living off of savings or cutting way back to live off their spouse's income or going on welfare.

By the Conventions it may all sort out and give us standard politicians, but there is no guarantee.  The People may say differently.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

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