Last Updated:November 24 @ 07:08 pm

Charen: Obamanomics - More Ride in the Wagon

By Mona Charen

June brought the perfect encapsulation of the Obama economy: More Americans signed up for disability benefits than got jobs. According to government statistics, 80,000 Americans found work last month, while 85,000 dropped out of the labor force altogether to collect Social Security Disability payments.

It is possible that an unusual number of Americans have become disabled during President Obama's tenure -- but if so, what does that say about the virtues of Obamacare? In any case, though, Obama promised that unemployment would not top 8 percent if we passed the stimulus law -- and though he predicted that the unemployment rate would be at 5.6 percent today, the private economy itself is quite disabled under this leadership.

There are very few jobs on offer. People are accordingly going where the money is. From the beginning of the recovery in June 2009, more Americans have joined the ranks of the disabled (3.1 million) than have found jobs (2.6 million). Record numbers have also filed for unemployment insurance, welfare benefits and food stamps, which 1 in 7 Americans now receive.

The federal government has so many welfare programs that a top official of the Government Accountability Office couldn't even provide a fixed number to a House oversight committee, nor would Patricia Dalton "hazard a guess" as to what percentage of these programs is accomplishing the purposes for which they were created. What is not in doubt is the increase in funding President Obama has requested for welfare -- 42 percent over 2008 levels.

Since the administration believes unemployment insurance to be the best way to expand the economy, it isn't surprising to find that the food stamp program, or SNAP as it's now called, is also advertising for more "customers." The SNAP website encourages local offices to be creative about finding more beneficiaries. "Throw a Great Party. Host social events where people mix and mingle. Make it fun by having activities, games, food, and entertainment, and provide information about SNAP." The Daily Caller reports that SNAP is also running radio ads (cost to you: about $3 million) to encourage greater participation in North Carolina, South Carolina, Ohio, California, Texas and New York.

SNAP, with a touching faith in the Keynesian multiplier, explains, "Every $5 in new SNAP benefits generates $9.20 in additional community spending. If the national participation rate rose five percentage points ... $2.5 billion total in new economic activity would be generated nationwide." Right.

The president is fond of saying, regarding the Republican Party's economic philosophy, "We tried that, and it didn't work." Obama never acknowledges that his economic philosophy -- enthusiastically enacted by a Democrat-dominated Congress in 2009, not only has failed but also makes no sense. By what logic does adding record numbers of people to the welfare rolls aid the economy? Fewer and fewer Americans are earning the money from which these expanded benefits are to be paid. Though the president predicted a strong recovery by 2010, he now claims that the poor economy is still somehow George Bush's fault, all the while still maintaining that things are "moving in the right direction," which, presumably, must not be Bush's doing.

There are only a couple of nongovernmental sectors that the president routinely praises and endorses -- and you can't really call them private, because both have received generous taxpayer subsidies: the high-speed rail and "green jobs." In California, the feds have partnered with bankrupt Sacramento to begin building a bullet train from Los Angeles to San Francisco. In a survey of potential customers, 69 percent said they would "never" or "hardly ever" use such a train. No matter, they will soon break ground for the first leg of the system that will traverse the 130 miles from Madera to Bakersfield. From, as a wit noted, "where nobody lives to where nobody wants to go."

The "five million" green jobs President Obama promised, and toward which he shoveled $25 billion in stimulus funds, have obviously not materialized. But the Bureau of Labor Statistics has been working overtime to reclassify existing jobs as "green." As Rep. Darrell Issa discovered, "There are 33 times as many so-called green jobs in the septic tank and portable toilet servicing industry as there are in solar energy and utility areas. More than 160,000 of these green jobs are related to school bus drivers." A plumber who installs a low-flow toilet becomes a "green" plumber. In some cases, government claims of new green jobs were based only on unaudited claims found in industry press releases.

Mysteriously, these boondoggles, subsidies, transfer payments and trains to nowhere haven't boosted the economy. It must be the dead hand of George W. Bush.



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  1. bna42Comment by bna42
    July 10, 2012 @ 10:19 am

    The only thing about Social Security Disability that might save the system is the fact that those people drawing benefits are required to be re-evaluated every year or two. So unless the disability rules are permanently relaxed, many of those people will be turned down later when the economy straightens out and jobs are more plentiful. But this issue was caused by extending unemployment benefits to 99 weeks, allowing people to let their skills deteriorate to the point that they are no longer eligible for employment. They were happy to stay on unemployment and refuse to find work, and they will be happy to stay on disability as long as the government allows them.

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  2. JDZComment by JDZ
    July 10, 2012 @ 10:29 am

    Have those in the Obama administration lost their minds or are these asinine increases in government handouts just a part of their plan to finish the conversion of America into an entitlement serfdom? Look, it has to be intentional, doesn’t it? They just cannot be that stupid, can they?

    Every idea coming out of President Obama’s mouth these days just continues to dig the financial hole deeper, and it has to be intentional, there is no other explanation.

    When you stack up the financially unaffordable programs on top of each other like SS, Medicare, SNAP, Medicaid, AMTRAK, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, SS disability, unemployment benefits, tax subsidies of all kinds, welfare programs, the public service salary and benefit financial liability looking ahead, the ongoing annual budget deficit of over 1.2 Trillion, and then…you put Obamacare on top of all of these financially unsustainable programs, it will eventually crash our economy. There is no stopping it.

    The liberals are claiming that massive wealth redistribution will solve our financial problems if they are allowed to do this through tax rate increases on the wealthiest Americans, but the numbers do not validate that point of view. The government could basically confiscate ALL of the wealth of the 1% and it would not even cover one month’s interest payment on the national debt. They know that massive increases in taxes (like the 21 new tax increases embedded in Obamacare) will be forced on every taxpayer in the country regardless of income level sooner or later and even that is not going to work.

    The socialist/Marxist/progressives in the Whitehouse know the numbers do not reconcile but just keep on borrowing and spending and digging the hole deeper. What is going on?

    Their goal is to take control of our country and they will crash the economy if they have to, to get it done, because it is a means to an end. President Obama knows what he is doing. He publicly says one thing while his policies say a completely different thing. He has made none of the proven moves that would help turn the economy around while he keeps saying he cares about the millions out of work.

    It is all “smoke and mirrors” as they build voter base of millions of Americans taking money from the taxpayers who are working, because the PLAN is that at some point, the number of voters on the dole will exceed those paying the bills, and when that happens, they will have taken control of the federal government. They know this will work because it has already happened in the state of California.

    Then once they have control, they can then change their policies to stay in power by being more conciliatory, to admit maybe they went too far, and need to retrench…just stick with them…etc. But…THEY WILL BE IN POWER. That is their goal.

    Sound familiar?

    Scary…but real. This is all planned…there is no other explanation, they are not that stupid.

    If Obama gets another is over. The American people will regret it later as they live through the demise of our great country…but, guess what, the voters have a choice…and if the majority of the voters want this to happen, it is going to happen.

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  3. librabobComment by librabob
    July 10, 2012 @ 10:31 am

    I keep hearing from the media (all sources) about the dramatic increase in people receiving social security disability payments over the past few years. It stands to reason that the level of fraud in this government program is running rampant. What I don’t hear any mention of is the Department of Justice cracking down on fraudulent claims in this program. Shouldn’t Eric Holder be looking into this rather that fighting with the states over voter ID requirements or how they process illegal aliens they encounter? This nation is hemorrhaging money in the billions every month through fraud, waste and abuse of our tax payer dollars. Its frustrating that neither the POTUS or his AG seems to care. Yet, he has the nerve to say he wants to increase taxes so he can have more money to give away to his friends and supporters.

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  4. willyrhoComment by willyrho
    July 10, 2012 @ 10:51 am

    Has anyone noticed that Democons are always bit in the behind by unintended consequences? Cause and Effect have no meaning to them, everything is in a vacuum and affects nothing else. Gullible and Glib, Stupid Libs.
    It is only logical, that if you get laid off and can’t find a job, you will file for disability. Mental anguish is the normal response to being corned in a no-win situation. Libs are so stupid and arrogant.

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  5. joelinpdxComment by joelinpdx
    July 10, 2012 @ 12:11 pm

    The American people elected Obozo. Therefore, it stands to reason, a good share of the American people are mentally deficient. Ergo, an increase in disability is proved.

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