Freedomnomics

Article published Friday, August 6, 2010, at Fox News.

Where Are the Jobs, Mr. President?

By John R. Lott, Jr.

The anemic growth of the U.S. economy is slowing down even further. More jobs were lost in July and more discouraged workers completely left the labor force. Of course, President Obama and Democrats are not taking any responsibility for this and are blaming former President Bush.

But look at the numbers.

The current sluggishness can hardly be blamed on the previous administration. Last fall the economy grew at a reasonable 5 percent annual rate. It has dropped since then: during January through March, the growth rate dropped to 3.7 percent and April through June, 2.4 percent.

An Angus Reid survey released on July 31 found that only 11 percent of Americans rated their economic conditions as Very Good / Good, down from 15 percent in April. In July, as incredible 86 percent of Americans feel that their economic condition is Poor/Very Poor, an increase from 83 percent. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner now tells us this week that unemployment is likely to go back up. A hardly surprising finding given the slow economic growth.

No matter how one cuts it, a slowing economy this year is not what Democrats were predicting a year after the stimulus bill was passed. Take Larry Summers, Obama’s chief economic adviser, January 25, 2009. He promised that the economy would start improving “within weeks” of the stimulus plan being passed. President Obama declared later in May, 2009 that the massive $862 billion spending program was "already seeing results.”

It gets boring hearing the same repetitive claims this year. In April, for example, Vice President Joe Biden again explained how many jobs the economy was going to create this summer: “Some time in the next couple of months we’re going to be creating between 250,000 jobs a month and 500,000 jobs a month.”

Well, where are those jobs? Since April the Household survey data shows that 495,000 jobs have disappeared and another 1.72 million people have gotten so discouraged that they have simply left the labor force. We are still waiting for the improvement.

The administration explains that that economic growth and the 9.5 unemployment rate would be even worse if the stimulus hadn't passed. Yet, if the stimulus worked, why is economic growth slowing? Why do individuals see their own economic circumstances getting worse? As far as anyone can find, there were no new Bush economic policies that former President Bush snuck in for this year. In case Mr. Obama didn’t notice, Mr. Obama, not George Bush, was in office. Democrats have controlled Congress for the last four years.

It is very simple. Mr. Obama's stimulus, with the massive deficit it created, and all the new regulations made the economy worse. Moving around a trillion dollars from where Americans would have spent the money to where the government wanted it spent created a lot of chaos and unemployment as jobs were moved between different parts of the economy. New taxes and regulations have discouraged business investment and reduced the incentive to produce more.

Unfortunately for Democrats, they have nothing to run on other than saying that everything is Bush’s fault.

John R. Lott Jr. is a FOXNews.com contributor. He is an economist and the author of "More Guns, Less Crime (University of Chicago Press, 2010), the third edition of which was published in May.".

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