Is CA Better Off Than Four Years Ago?

I really didn’t need to watch President Obama’s speech last night — although I did — to know how it would be reviewed by his cheerleaders in the mainstream media.

To hear them tell it, it was the greatest speech since, perhaps, the Gettysburg Address, if not the Sermon on the Mount.

Yet, I remained unsatisfied after the president’s speech. Because, as a California resident, I wanted to hear him say something that would persuade me that this state is better off, under his watch, than it was four years ago.

Alas, Mr. Obama disappointed. He mustered no better defense of his administration’s past four years than his Vice President, Joe Biden, who recently responded to the question as to whether Americais better off by replying, flippantly, “Bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive.”

Well, I certainly don’t mourn Bin Laden’s demise, but it sure didn’t alter life as we know it in California. And, last time I checked, GM doesn’t manufacture any of its automobiles here in the Golden State, so it hasn’t created any new jobs in the state with the nation’s third-highest unemployment.

I’m not blaming the president for California’s current economic morass. It began before he was sworn into office. But his economic policies sure haven’t made things better for the average Californian.

Yes, I understand that no past president would have quickly overcome the economic problems Obama inherited. Not Ronald Reagan. Not Bill Clinton.

But I wasn’t expecting Obama to turn around the economy in his first 100 days in office. Or his first year. Or even his second year.

Yet, I don’t think it unreasonable to have expected that, at this point in the Obama presidency, America would be in the midst of a robust recovery. And that we’d see the prima facie evidence here in the Golden State, which has fallen from the world’s sixth largest economy when Obama came to office to, currently, the eighth.

Stimulus

After all, Mr. Obama was given more than $800 billion in 2009 by Congress, then controlled by his fellow Democrats, for his vaunted economic “stimulus” package, the so-called American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Mr. Obama guaranteed his ginormous stimulus, the biggest expansion of government spending in U.S. history, would drive down the nation’s jobless rate below 6 percent by the second quarter of this year. Alas, as we slouch towards completion of the third quarter, national unemployment remains above 8 percent.

And the jobs picture is even bleaker here in California, which continues to suffer double-digit unemployment.

Reports by both UCLA Anderson Forecast and Wells Fargo predict that it will take another three years, at least, for the Golden State to recover all the jobs it lost during the Great Recession — despite the $30 billion in stimulus money California received from the Obama administration.

That is precisely the outcome predicted by some 200 fiscally conservative economists who went so far as to take out full-page newspaper advertisements arguing against Mr. Obama’s stimulus package.

“We the undersigned do not believe that more government spending is a way to improve economic performance,” the ad admonished. “More government spending by Hoover and Roosevelt did not pull the United States economy out of the Great Depression in the 1930s.”

Mr. Obama pooh-poohed the fiscally-conservative economists. He dismissed them as purveyors of “false theories of the past.”

That’s the same line of attack the president is using four years later to defend his mismanagement of the U.S. economy.

But there is no getting around the fact that, since he has been in the White House, California’s fortunes have gotten worse, not better.

(Joseph Perkins is the Business Editor for San Diego Magazine. Originally posted on CalWatchdog.)