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The Economic Numbers – Is Obama the worst ever?

President Barack Obama is quickly approaching the half-way point of his first term and he’s already breaking a number of records. Unfortunately for him, they’re almost all bad records — and almost all tied to the poor economic situation of the country.

His job approval rating is already the worst in 50 years that’s been seen by any president at this point in their presidency. Approval ratings are usually – but not always – tied to economics.

While there’s still time for his administration to correct the demise, one gets the feeling that the almost unprecedented hostility his administration has towards business, which appears to be mired deep in leftist economic ideology, proves that such a correction (as Clinton made in his term) will not occur, and Obama risks becoming the most disliked one-term president since Jimmy Carter.

What are some of the other historic but poor key performance indicators for Obama?

See Gross Domestic Product and the Unemployment Rate – probably the single two most important economic figures for any president.

I crunched some numbers, courtesy of the Federal government’s own data, namely the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) for GDP, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) for unemployment data.

Obama’s GDP numbers, scored quarterly as opposed to monthly unemployment data, are not horrible, but nowhere near strong enough to save him alone.

Adjusted for inflation (using the BEA’s 2005 dollars scoring) Obama has had a lackluster .18% (that’s point-1-8) economic growth. By contrast, President George W. Bush (scored the same) had a 2.0% quarterly average. Put differently, the Bush GDP was 11 times more successful than Obama. But again, lots of presidents have lackluster GDP years.

But the most dire picture for Obama regards the unemployment data, and underemployment data — the latter being persons who purposely take a job at part-time or less equitable than their previous one in order to avoid complete unemployment. 20.3% of the U.S. workforce was underemployed in March.

The U.S. government has kept standardized unemployment data since 1953 (data previous to that was less standardized).  That’s 63 years. During those 63 years the historical annual average is 5.72 percent. The historical annual median is 5.59 percent.

The Obama presidency is a whopping 9.49 percent. This means that Obama has the dishonor of being ranked as having the next-to-last (#62) and fourth-from-last (#60) rank of annual unemployment rates in 63 years.

Ironically, the worst year was 1982, under Reagan, but prior to his economic tax cuts and incentives. So, short of Obama pulling a Reagan and encouraging business growth and private-sector spending through tax cuts in order to expand the size of the economy and employment numbers, one doesn’t see much light at the end of the tunnel.

This is highly significant considering that many economic conservatives felt luke-warm about the Bush economy, even though Bush’s unemployment average was 5.14, well below the historic annual mean and median — six of eight Bush years were in the top 50% of the unemployment rates, and most of those during the period in which his tax cuts had peaked and most encouraged business hiring and investment. Unfortunately for Bush, he had some bookend poor years, from the 9-11 aftermath on one side, and the tax cuts sunsetting (thus discouraging further business spending and investment) on the other side.

(By the way, the Truman and Eisenhower administrations monopolize the best employment data, proving that the late 40s and 50s were truly unprecidented growth periods in our nation’s history.)

So, what does this mean?

Well, put simply, the first thing it means is in the words of the late Patrick Moynihan, you are entitled to your own opinions but not your own facts. The economic data does not lie and bodes poorly for both the president and our country.

It also means that the private sector is hedging their bets (and their employment and investment) and do not buy the Obama sales pitch that the trillion-dollar stimuluses worked, or that his ObamaCare health plan is not a tax or will magically save them money.

The latter notion was so ridiculous that even ABC News and former Clinton staffer George Stephanopoulos — hardly your right-wing tea party attender — called out Obama in an interview accusing him of raising taxes during a poor economy — something that only the most Marxist of economists would do.

Companies including AT&T, Deere & Co., AK Steel, Prudential and Caterpillar have all publicly announced in the past few weeks that the ObamaCare plan will force them to lay even more people off to save costs. Verizon alone found that the plan will cost them $970 million. You can hire a lot of people with $970 million.

Some news reports announced that companies “unexpectedly” cut payrolls in March — many tying that decision to the health care law. But there should be nothing “unexpected” about companies laying personnel off when the health care law is 2,000 pages of disincentives for business. Comedian Dennis Miller put it best, noting, “Only Democrats would consider losing doctors but adding 14,000 IRS agents a successful health care plan.”

Bloomberg reported, “The costs may reduce corporate profits by as much as $14 billion as companies account for the impact of the health-care reforms, according to benefits consulting firm Towers Watson.”

This news should strike fear into the heart of any Democrat running for re-election, and cause them to offset — and I thought Democrats loved “offsets” — the cost of ObamaCare with some other kind of business incentives. Instead of such common-sense campaigning, Democrats plan another show trial where business leaders are forced before Congress to explain their anti-Obama conspiracy.

The Wall Street Journal mocked the idea that these companies had a hidden agenda, noting that they’re simply following “the Financial Standard Accounting Board’s 1990 statement No. 106, which requires businesses to immediately restate their earnings in light of their expected future retiree health liabilities.” So the government regulates that companies must come clean on their perceived losses, and when they do so, then pulls them before a Congressional panel to attack them for following these Congressional regulations!

House Energy and Commerce Committee Rep. Henry Waxman (D, Idiocracy) explained that these companies’ analysis is in “conflict with independent analyses.” By “independent analysis,” Rep. Waxman means the Congressional Budget Office, which is controlled… by Congress. Worse, the CBO only judges the estimates given to them (by Democrats on Congress, that is), all other research is considered out of scope, and the CBO scores statically, not dynamically, meaning they don’t take into account how investment and hiring behavior is affected by surpluses or deficits.

Finally, 18 states of the Union have now filed lawsuits against the federal government for violating the Tenth Amendment, which gives states and the people in those states the sole power over anything not specified as a federal power in Article 1, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution. No matter what the Supreme Court says on this matter, combining this federal power grab with a poor economy, GDP, unemployment and Waxman War on Business, the Obama Administration will have a very deep hole to get out of by Novembers of 2010 and 2012.

Rule number one of standing in a hole and digging it too deep is: stop digging. But thus far Obama is “shovel ready” and heaving away.