The news of late hasn't been good for the President Obama's policies, as I have pointed out in my last several posts. The bad news keeps coming. While the President's general approval rating is in negative territory, his public approval on the economy is rather worse. Pollster.com has a 60% disapproval vs. 35% approval of Obama's economic performance average across all the polls Pollster monitors.
While such polls are thought to register how prospective voters feel rather than what they think, they have good reason to think that Obamanomics has come a cropper. Consider the infamous $800 billion stimulus bill. The Administration claims it kept us from falling into a second recession or maybe even a depression. No one really believes that. What the Congressional Budget Office believes is that the stimulus bill is, on balance, a bad thing for the economy. From Powerline:
On Tuesday, Doug Elmendorf, head of the Congressional Budget Office, testified before the Senate Budget Committee. Ranking Republican Jeff Sessions recalled the CBO's projection, made around the time the stimulus bill was enacted, that the measure would have a negative long-term impact on economic growth. Elmendorf confirmed that this is still the view of the CBO.
Over ten years the stimulus bill will retard economic growth, according to the CBO. The CBO is the only standard we currently have.
Next consider Obama's bailout of the auto companies. A lot of us thought that this was really a bailout of the auto unions, but never mind that. In the case of General Motors, the balance sheet looks rather grim. From Shikha Dalmia, at Reason:
The Treasury Department yesterday revised its loss estimate for the Government Motors bailout from $14.33 billion to $23.6 billion, thanks to the company's sinking stock price. GM's Sept. 30 closing price, on which the new estimate is based, was $20.18, about $13 less than its December IPO price and $35 less than what is needed for taxpayers to break even.
The $23.6 billion represents a 25 percent loss on the feds $60 billion direct "investment" in GM. But that's not all that taxpayers are on the hook for. As I explained previously, Uncle Sam's special GM bankruptcy package allowed the company to write off $45 billion in previous losses going forward. This could work out to as much as $15 billion in tax savings that GM wouldn't have had had it gone through a normal bankruptcy. Why? Because after bankruptcy, the tax liabilities of companies increase since they have no more losses to write off.
This means that the total hit to taxpayers, who still own about a quarter of the company, could add up to $38.6 billion. That's even more that the $34 billion on the outside I had predicted in May.
It looks as though the government isn't any better at venture capitalism in the auto industry than it is in the energy sector. It also seems to have the same instinct to protect the well-heeled at the expense of the taxpayers.
Perhaps the good news is that the President isn't even trying to make policy anymore. He has been traveling a lot lately. In his campaign trips about the U.S. he kept urging Congress to pass a jobs bill that couldn't pass the Senate, where his party has a majority. What he didn't do was get on the phone or meet with Congressional leaders to try to bring them behind his proposal.
Now that the Supercommittee is approaching a deadline for recommending deficit reduction, the President has said he will veto any attempt to evade the "draconian" cuts in the budget that will occur if the Supercommittee fails. Has the President been in contact with the Supercommittee members? Has he tried to use his influence to encourage a deal? Well…no. From the Politico:
As the clock counts down to the deadline for the Supercommittee to come to a deficit-reduction agreement, President Barack Obama hasn't been in touch with congressional leaders in recent days, the White House said here Saturday.
"The president's obviously been engaged in numerous bilateral and group meetings here. He has not made any other calls to leaders of Congress," press secretary Jay Carney said at a briefing for traveling reporters.
Barack Obama has pretty much given up policy making for campaigning, which is the only thing he has ever been really good at. That, and world traveling. I applaud the President's decision to travel to Burma, with this qualification: he should not go there unless he can personally meet with Aung San Suu Kyi (gassho). I assume that that has been arranged.
It is sensible that he is doing the Chief of State thing and ignoring the Chief Executive and Chief Legislator thing. He has done enough damage for one presidential term.