Last Friday marked the third-year anniversary of President Obama’s $787-billion economic "stimulus" law — and it scored a rather grim milestone: The unemployment rate held steady above eight percent for 36 months, the longest period since World War II. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the current 8.3-percent unemployment rate is precisely where it stood three years ago when the legislation, called the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), was signed into law. The previous record for above-8-percent unemployment was 27 months, which transpired in the early 1980s.
American dependence on government has soared to an all-time high under the Obama administration, growing 23 percent in just two years, according to a new study by the Heritage Foundation. The conservative research group’s 2012 "Index of Dependence on Government" revealed that 67 million Americans are now banking on some federal program, including programs related to healthcare, housing, welfare, education subsidies, and other government programs that were "traditionally provided to needy people by local organizations and families."
House Republicans, accelerating efforts to combat the frenetic influx of federal regulations that continue to flood the U.S. economy, passed the Regulatory Accountability Act (RAA) Friday, which would require all federal agencies to audit proposed rules more thoroughly before they are enacted, and make sure procedures for rulemaking follow proper steps. Federal courts would be more involved in the process, and regulators would be forced to examine potential costs and benefits of alternatives.
While high unemployment persists and the U.S. economy remains stubbornly flat, Washington, D.C. now hails as the nation’s wealthiest metropolitan area, according to new data from the Census Bureau. Dethroning Silicon Valley from its royal chair, the hometown of Congress and the White House is flourishing, as the median household income for Washington residents stood at $84,523 in 2010, when the nation’s average household income was $50,046. The data shows that San Jose, home of Apple and Cisco Systems, held an average income of $83,944 in 2010, falling from $84,483 in 2009, and now riding on the coattails of America’s political stronghold.
Former President Bill Clinton says Obama’s approach to taming the federal deficit "is a little confusing" and suggests that raising taxes would blockade any efforts to revive the stale U.S. economy. During an interview with Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy in New York, where Clinton held the 10th annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative, the former President discussed political topics such as climate change, tax policy, and government regulations. He also mentioned the possibility of his wife, Hillary, running for President in 2016, naming her "the ablest person in my generation."
Released on Tuesday, the Census Bureau’s annual report flashed a dismal economic outlook, showing that U.S. poverty has exceeded 46 million people — nearly 1 in 6 Americans — and the number without health insurance spiking from 49 million to almost 50 million. As unemployment continues to hover around 9 percent, many Americans are financially exhausted, as the overall poverty rate reached 15.1 percent, up from the 14.3 percent recorded the previous year. The number of Americans now below the poverty line is the highest number recorded since 1959, when the Census first started analyzing such data.
President Obama sent a letter to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) Tuesday detailing seven new regulations that would each cost the U.S. economy more than $1 billion annually. With regulatory costs for American businesses of at least $38 billion per year and compliance costs of $100 billion per year, the seven proposed regulations would target transportation and the environment.
The state of Nevada was the fortunate recipient of a $490,000 federal grant to grow trees and plants — and of course, to "stimulate" the state’s economy. The only problem is the stimulus spawned a whopping 1.72 permanent jobs. In 2009, the U.S. Forest Service awarded the federal money to Nevada’s Clark County Urban Forestry Revitalization Project with the intent of enlivening urban areas of the county with trees and plants, and of providing green-industry training.
While the private-sector is drowning under a perpetual recessionary storm, U.S. regulatory agencies are flourishing. "If the federal government’s regulatory operation were a business, it would be one of the 50 biggest in the country in terms of revenues, and the third largest in terms of employees, with more people working for it than McDonald’s, Ford, Disney and Boeing combined," writes John Merline of Investors.com.
Congress will soon be consummating its most underactive session in recent decades, as both chambers of the legislature will have passed a meager number of bills compared with other non-election years. As debates over tax policy and government spending heat up Congress, Washington’s seemingly hyperactive legislative hearings are in fact rather fruitless, and many critics have taken the small amount of legislation as indicative of the federal government's waning degree of power.