Are Social Issues Deliberately Clouding Lackluster Economy?

April 22nd, 2013 | by Morris Beschloss | Comments

When noting final 2012 year-end economic statistics, merging into 2013′s first quarter, it becomes increasingly apparent that the U.S. economy is in a state of suspended animation. Some of such major factors are lack of unemployment improvement, gross domestic product growth, personal income, or consumer confidence. None of these, representing a post recessionary rebound are being manifested. Even the compliant media, which bends over backward to paint a non-existent rosy picture, is unable to cite proof that there are any dynamics at work, other than energy development, and exports led by agriculture and military aircraft.

Instead, temporary patchwork legislation is used to pay U.S. Government bills and muffle the crisis which was piling up at last year’s end, with the year-end fiscal cliff, the sequestration debacle, and the inability to come to a new debt ceiling agreement. The last debt ceiling extension was arrived at in August 2011. Even the budgets passed by the House and the Senate’s first attempt in four years, are resulting in an impasse. These are to be adjudicated by another attempt to reconcile the budget gap existing between the House of Representatives on one hand, which will likely result in going nowhere. As things now stand, this will prove to be another string of exercises in futility, which have marked much of the more than four years of the Obama Administration’s direction.

Instead, at the White House’s behest, there have been Congressional debates, and presidentially-sponsored dinners with GOP leaders that are all about social issues, such as immigration policies, gay marriage legislation, and gun control. Even foreign policy has been handed over to a newly empowered Secretary of State, former senior Massachusetts veteran Senator, John Kerry. Whether this is by deliberate intent, or coincidental, is immaterial. When viewing the current economic panorama, the following major hangups stick out like a sore thumb:

1) Despite the numbers game played by the U.S. Department of Labor, America’s effective lack of full-time employment hangs in around 13-14%. While long-term unemployment has softened due to retirement or despair by giving up, the weekly figures of new unemployment compensation additions to the out-of-work aspirants remain in the 350,000 range. They’ve been there for more than the past year.

2) Eighty-six percent of “small businesses” threaten further layoffs and are extremely disconcerted by the additional healthcare premiums and the 3.8% Obamacare tax yoke they have to carry.

3) The energy sector, the hottest thing going in America’s economy, is being increasingly hampered by Democrat state governors, such as New York’s Andrew Cuomo, who has forbidden the highly successful oil/gas fracturing extraction in his state. Also, President Obama keeps delaying the Trans-Canada XL oil pipeline, even though approved by both the House and the Democrat-controlled Senate, which carry no legal force.

4) The current “sequestration” enforcement is being featured by such bizarre methods as closing the White House to civilian visitors, and cutting back on border illegal immigration watchdogs, while letting many incarcerated illegals with criminal records out of jail, due to the dismissal of guards in the relevant imprisonment facilities.

These antics further undermine consumer confidence, which may lead to further ongoing economic lethargy. This has induced a U.S. gross domestic product which will be lucky to break out on the positive side of the plus column for all of 2013.

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