Is the economic recovery real or illusory?

The Obama administration has poured about $6 trillion of borrowed money into this economy over the last four years. Has this resulted in a growing economy, or is the economy slowing down?

Take a look at this must-read editorial in the Wall Street Journal.

Excerpt:

The Great Recession is an apt name for America’s current stagnation, but the present phase might also be called the Grand Illusion—because the happy talk and statistics that go with it, especially regarding jobs, give a rosier picture than the facts justify.

The country isn’t really advancing. By comparison with earlier recessions, it is going backward. Despite the most stimulative fiscal policy in American history and a trillion-dollar expansion to the money supply, the economy over the last three years has been declining. After 2.4% annual growth rates in gross domestic product in 2010 and 2011, the economy slowed to 1.5% growth in 2012. Cumulative growth for the past 12 quarters was just 6.3%, the slowest of all 11 recessions since World War II.

[…]February’s headline unemployment rate was portrayed as 7.7%, down from 7.9% in January. The dip was accompanied by huzzahs in the news media claiming the improvement to be “outstanding” and “amazing.” But if you account for the people who are excluded from that number—such as “discouraged workers” no longer looking for a job, involuntary part-time workers and others who are “marginally attached” to the labor force—then the real unemployment rate is somewhere between 14% and 15%.

[…]The number of Americans unemployed for six months or longer went up by 89,000 in February to a total of 4.8 million. The average duration of unemployment rose to 36.9 weeks, up from 35.3 weeks in January. The labor-force participation rate, which measures the percentage of working-age people in the workforce, also dropped to 63.5%, the lowest in 30 years. The average workweek is a low 34.5 hours thanks to employers shortening workers’ hours or asking employees to take unpaid leave.

When we borrow massive amounts of money and spend it today, we should expect to see some sort of return for all of that spending. But it turns out that when government does the spending instead of private citizens and private industry, then much of the money is wasted on nonsense that doesn’t create jobs and grow the economy. The numbers we have today put this point beyond dispute.

The Obama administration has been failing skilled immigrants for the past four years, as well:

When employers can’t expand or develop new lines because of the shortage of certain skills, the employment opportunities for the less skilled are also restricted. To help with this shortage, the administration’s proposals for job-training programs do deserve support. The stress should be on vocational training, postsecondary education and every program that will broaden access to computer science and strengthen science, technology, engineering and math in high schools and at the university level.

But the payoffs from these programs are in the future, and it is vital today to increase the number of annual visas and grants of permanent residency status for foreigners skilled in science and technology. The current situation is preposterous: The brightest and best brains from all over the globe are attracted to American universities, but once they get their degrees America sends them packing. Keeping these foreigners out means they will compete against us in the industries that are growing here and around the world.

This administration prides itself on being “pro-immigration” but they actually favor giving citizenship and voting privileges to millions of people who do not have marketable skills, who cannot speak English, and who disrespect the law by coming here illegally. The administration wants those people to become citizens because those people will vote Democrat. Meanwhile, skilled immigrants with advanced degrees in math, science, engineering and technology can just clear out of the country. They can learn here and work here temporarily, but eventually they have to go home. There are no green cards or naturalizations for skilled immigrants – they have skills, and they may be tempted to do nasty things like vote Republican. Democrats don’t want any of those independent, hard-working immigrants in this country. They are too hard to control and too hard to lie to.

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