Watters: U.S. economic recovery not what it seems

Arabella Watters

A cry for joy was heard from liberals across the country Jan. 3.

The Automatic Data Processing, Inc. employment rates for January 2012 were released and a net total of 243,000 jobs were added to the workforce, which seems to be good for President Barack Obama’s macro-based economic plan as well as the economy as a whole. Though the numbers seem to show growth, what people are forgetting is that the unemployment rate hovers at a dangerously high 8.3 percent, a number which will continue to promote the unfortunate accommodationist policies of the last three years.

Unfortunately, the government failed to publish the rest of the report from the National Bureau of Labor. The results stated that there are 2.8 million unemployed people who are not looking for work. Granted, some unemployment is by individual choice. But with the addition of those unemployed citizens, the raw unemployment rate is actually at 9.9 percent.

Though the administration prefers to hide information like this from the American public, the fact that the economy is still in shambles is unavoidable. President Obama inherited a particularly complex economic legacy. Coming into office at the beginning of the recession, Obama has worked diligently to try and drive America out of its depressed hole. I give him credit for that.

However, it is frustrating when supporters of Obama scream “economic recovery” at the drop of a hat. In reality, the projected unemployment rates for 2012 are predicted to increase to 8.6 percent by the fourth quarter.

As long as the unemployment rate stays at these levels, the economy will be anything but healed. Obama does not deserve praise for his lack of experience or ineffective stimulus plans. The economy, despite the sensationalism surrounding the new employment numbers, grew only a meager 1.7 percent from 2010.

If anything, President Obama’s policies are exactly what our economy doesn’t need. His stimulus plan in which $800 billion was used to create jobs within the federal and state infrastructure failed to make permanent improvement.

At the current economic standpoint, Obama’s attempts to try and close the gap are definitely not working.

The top 2 percent of earners are responsible for one-third of consumer demand, and there is a large discrepancy between the extremely wealthy and the extremely impoverished.

Though I don’t believe the income gap is healthy for our economy, I do believe that at this point in time it is unavoidable.

There are much bigger problems in our economy. Not only does the Federal Interest Rate hover at 0.13 percent – and it is projected to stay that way for at least the next three quarters – but consumer spending is also predicted to rise only a measly 0.3 percent.

As long as Obama continues his quest to fix the economy in a way he believes is “efficient” and fails to share the real facts with the public, consumer spending will not increase, money will not be borrowed from banks and the economy will continue at this stagnant pace of slow “recovery.”

Arabella Watters is a Medill freshman. She can be reached at [email protected]

All opinions expressed in this column are solely the opinions of the columnist and do not reflect the views of The Daily Northwestern. If you would like to respond to the column, you may comment below, email the columnist or submit a 300-word letter to the editor to [email protected]