The U.S. economy doesn’t like to hover. If it isn’t expanding at a 2 percent or higher annual pace, it risks slipping into recession. As I mentioned in a post last week:
Last night in a new report, Democrat-friendly Goldman Sachs dropped an economic bomb on President Obama’s chances for reelection (bold is mine):
A few data points, two from today and one from last week:
— Consumer confidence fell in June to the lowest point since November 2010 on concerns about the slack labor market and sputtering recovery, according to a Conference Board report released on Tuesday. The Conference Board, a private-sector industry group, said its index of consumer attitudes fell to 58.5 in June from a revised 61.7 in May. Something more like 90 is what you want to see with a healthy economy.
Katrina Trinko at National Review Online puts them through their paces:
According to a National Review Online analysis of seasonally adjusted employment data (looking at the total number of those employed) from the Bureau of Labor website, Gary Johnson has the best record of the official candidates, with a job-growth rate of 11.6 percent during his tenure. … Among the crowd who governed primarily during the 2000s, Huntsman has the best record. During his 2005 to 2009 tenure as governor of Utah, the number of jobs grew by 5.9 percent.
When Jon Huntsman, America’s man in Beijing until recently, joins the U.S. presidential race next week, he won’t be coming alone. His entry will add a China spin to the economic issues under debate by the current Republican field. That alone should make his candidacy one worth watching.
Those “bumps in the road” are starting to come fast and furious. The mix of disappointing U.S. economic reports and fear of a Greek default must be weighing heavily right now on the minds of the Obama 2012 re-election team. We are now looking at another quarter of around 2% GDP growth, which will do little to lower unemployment. A few selections from my email in-box:
I don’t think the terrible May jobs report means the Obama presidency is doomed anymore than I thought the killing of OBL meant re-election was in the bag. But another 18 months of economic muddling through – high unemployment, stagnant wages, dead housing, slow GDP growth – would certainly make the GOP nomination one worth winning. Like REALLY worth winning – let’s put it that way. And the history of economies after bank crises show the “muddling though” scenario is a common one.
During his private equity career, Mitt Romney was famous as a supersalesman who could dazzle clients with data. But his PowerPoint mastery may not be enough to make him U.S. president. Thursday’s slide-show defense of the controversial health plan he created as Massachusetts governor likely failed to satisfy conservative critics.
Peter Wehner of Commentary gives the tale of the tape:
We are now in the fifth month of Barack Obama’s third year in office. Unemployment is at 9.0 percent. We’re about 7 million jobs short of where things stood when Obama took office. Economic growth in the first quarter was 1.8 percent. Housing prices have fallen for 57 consecutive months. Only one in three Americans approve of the way Obama is handling the economy, the lowest point since he took office, and nearly eight in 10 American are less optimistic about the economy than they were a few months ago.
The Misery Index (inflation plus unemployment) through March was 11.48 percent (2.68 percent, 8.8 percent). By comparison, it was 10.52 percent in 1992 when Bill Clinton handily beat George Bush. (It was nearly 21 percent in 1980 when Ronald Reagan crushed Jimmy Carter.) In fact, it has not been double digits for an entire year since Bush I’s first term. This goes along way in explaining why trust in Obama’s handling of the economy has collapsed. And a new Gallup Poll finds that Americans prefer the GOP budget approach to that of Democrats by 48 percent to 36 percent.