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Posts Tagged ‘Inflation’

By Dick Morris and Eileen McGann

The data is in for April. Here’s what happened:

1. Household personal income (inflation adjusted) rose but every penny – and then some – went into savings or paying down debts. Consumer spending, on which Obama is betting to stimulate the economy, actually fell. None of the stimulus money was sent. None.

2. Meanwhile, to pay for this stimulus spending that didn’t stimulate, Obama had to borrow so much money that long term interest rates have almost doubled since he took office, forcing postponement of abandonment of business expansion and hiring across the board.

What a record!

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Here are the details. In April, personal household, inflation-adjusted income rose by $122 billion. Of that increase, one-third or $44 billion came from the government’s stimulus program. But while personal income was rising, household savings (which includes paying down credit card balances, mortgages, student loans, car loans, etc) rose by $132 billion — $10 billion more than the rise in income. So personal consumption dropped 0.1%.

The stimulus package was a total and complete failure. As predicted, as happened with Bush’s 2008 tax cut, as happened with the Japanese stimulus packages of the 90s, fearful consumers sat on their money and wouldn’t spend it. Keynesian economics didn’t work. Again.

But the debt sure piled up. The deficit quadrupled and is sending interest rates soaring as the government elbows aside businesses and consumers at the loan window, all in a desperate effort to borrow enough money to spend enough money to stimulate the economy which isn’t happening.

As we describe in our new book (out June 23rd) Catastrophe, Keynesian economics doesn’t work. The theory for rational expectations has taken its place. Consumers are not idiots. They know that when their paycheck is fatter – either because of tax cuts or government spending – that it is not the beginning of nirvana but just a short term, one shot respite from hard times. They know the difference between standing in front on an electric fan and a windy day.

Barack Obama has fatally undermined our currency, our solvency, our financial stability, and – ultimately – our economy all to spend money that has had no economic effect!

Is Obama a failure? Not by his lights. His goal was never to stimulate the economy. His goal was to expand government spending and he used the recession as an excuse to do so. And, by this standard, he is a raging success. With the stimulus spending, the government proportion of GDP will rise from about 35% to about 40% and with health care “reform” it will go soaring into the mid-forties, bringing us to parity with Germany en route to France!

But the results are in: None of Obama’s spending is doing anything to help the economy.

Of course, the process of household savings, designed to pay down debt, is very healthy. Economists call it de-leveraging. By the start of the recession, the debt American households owe had risen from 70% of their annual income in 1995 to 140% (excluding mortgages). Now it is on its way back down again. And, eventually, that will lead to a real recovery — If Obama doesn’t wreck the currency and bring on mega-inflation before then. (But he probably will).

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(The Hill) – When the Obama administration crashes and burns, with approval ratings that fall through the floor, political scientists can trace its demise to its first hundred days. While Americans are careful not to consign a presidency they desperately need to succeed to the dustbin of history, the fact is that this president has moved — on issue after issue — in precisely the opposite direction of what the people want him to do.

Right now, Obama’s ratings must be pleasing to his eye. Voters like him and his wife immensely and approve of his activism in the face of the economic crisis. While polls show big doubts about what he is doing, the overwhelming sense is to let him have his way and pray that it works.

But beneath this superficial support, Obama’s specific policies run afoul of the very deeply felt convictions of American voters. For example, the most recent Rasmussen Poll asked voters if they wanted an economic system of complete free enterprise or preferred more government involvement in managing the economy. By 77-19, they voted against a government role, up seven points from last month.

And in the Fox News poll — the very same survey that gave Obama a 62 percent approval rating and reported that 68 percent of voters are “satisfied” with his first hundred days — voters, by 50-38, supported a smaller government that offered fewer services over a larger government that provided more.

By 42-8, the Fox News poll (conducted on April 22-23) found that voters felt Obama had expanded government rather than contracted it (42 percent said it was the same size) and, by 46-30, reported believing that big government was more of a danger to the nation than big business. (By 50-23, they said Obama felt big business was more dangerous.)

By 62-20, they said government spending, under Obama, was “out of control.”

So if voters differ so fundamentally with the president on the very essence of his program, why do they accord him high ratings? They are like the recently married bride who took her vows 100 days ago. It would be a disaster for her life if she decides that she really doesn’t like her husband. But she keeps noticing things about him that she can’t stand. It will be a while before she walks out the door or even comes to terms with her own doubts, but it is probably inevitable that she will.

For Americans to conclude that they disapprove of their president in the midst of an earth-shaking crisis is very difficult. But as Obama’s daily line moves from “I inherited this mess” to “There are faint signs of light,” the clock starts ticking. If there is no recovery for the next six months — and I don’t think there will be — Obama will inevitably become part of the problem, not part of the solution.

And then will come his heavy lifting. He has yet to raise taxes, regiment healthcare or provide amnesty for illegal immigrants. He hasn’t closed down the car companies he now runs and he has not yet forced a 50 percent hike in utility bills with his cap-and-trade legislation. These are all the goodies he has in store for us all.

Obama’s very activism these days arrogates to himself the blame for the success or failure of his policies. Their outcome will determine his outcome, and there is no way it will be positive.

Why?

• You can’t borrow as much as he will need to without raising interest rates that hurt the economy;

• The massive amount of spending will trigger runaway inflation once the economy starts to recover;

• His overhaul of the tax code (still in the planning phases) and his intervention in corporate management will create such business uncertainty that nobody will invest in anything until they see the lay of the land;

• His bank program is designed to help banks, but not to catalyze consumer lending. And his proposal for securitization of consumer loans won’t work and is just what got us into this situation.

So Mr. Obama should enjoy his poll numbers while he may.

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