After delivering a number of “economic growth” speeches this summer, President Obama has failed to inspire any confidence, falling all the way back to square one in a recent Gallup poll. Actually, make that less than square one. Gallup reported that Obama’s approval rating on the economy has sunk to 35 percent in August from 42 percent in early June.
Why should we be surprised?
The actual economy shows real GDP falling well below 2 percent. This so-called recovery remains the worst in modern history dating back to 1947.
And as far as solutions go, Obama keeps giving us the same old, same old: End the spending-cut sequester, lower tax deductions, and raise taxes on the rich, all to free up money for infrastructure, green energy, “manufacturing innovation initiatives,” and the teachers’ unions.
Of course, this would all come on top of Obamacare, which if it doesn’t fall under its own weight, will add so many new taxes and regulations that it will sink the economy even more.
The Gallup poll also reflected voter fatigue over Obama’s stale class-warfare act. It’s a leftover from his first term. He talks about a “winner-take-all economy where a few do better and better while everyone else just treads water.” It’s a bore. It’s unproven. It’s like his new phrase of “an economy that grows from the middle out.” No one knows what this means because it doesn’t mean anything.
However, speaking in Galesburg, Ill., this summer, Obama served up a convenient historical fairy tale: “In the period after world War II,” he said, “a growing middle class was the engine of our prosperity.” Presumably he was thinking of a time when high taxes on the rich and industrial-union rule had the middle class soaring. The trouble is, Obama’s history is wrong.
From 1944 to 1960, with a top tax rate of 91 percent, the U.S. economy expanded at an anemic 2.1 percent annual pace, according to economic historian Brian Domitrovic. And during the Eisenhower years, the economy grew at a subpar 2.4 percent yearly rate, including three recessions, which Domitrovic says made for “the worst growth of any post-war president until George W. Bush and Barack Obama came along.”
So much for post-war prosperity.
But then came the 1960s, the decade liberals love to hate. Why? Because the path-breaking supply-side tax cuts of John F. Kennedy generated one of the greatest booms in economic history.