What happened to that 5% unemployment rate promised by the stimulus?

James Pethokoukis has a devastating chart and blog post over at AEI outlining the utter, complete, and total failure of the president's economic policies.

On the surface, the July jobs report - the unemployment rate dipped to 7.4% last month thanks to a shrinking workforce as the economy added a disappointing 162,000 net new payrolls - is just another dismal data point in America's "new normal" recovery. But it's also an important milestone and metric for judging the Keynesian fiscal experiment known as Obamanomics.

In January 2009, Team Obama economists put together a report - half quantitative analysis, half sales pitch - outlining the potential economic impact of the proposed $800 billion stimulus. (See above chart from that report.) If Congress passed the plan, the report forecasted, the economy would generate enough additional demand, output, and employment that two big things would happen:

First, the unemployment rate would never reach 8%. Unfortunately, we hit 10% unemployment in October 2009. Failure number one.

Second, the unemployment rate would return to its long-term "natural rate" of 5% by July 2013 (a jobless rate, it should be noted, above the low points of the Bush and Clinton presidencies). Labor markets would be back to peak health. The Great Recession would truly and finally be over.

Mission accomplished by this jobless report.

Of course, we now know conclusively that this prediction - based as it was on the pixiedust magic of Keynesian fiscal multipliers - was a total failure, one even beyond what the July job numbers suggest.

This is important: Obama economists assumed the unemployment rate would return to 5% even without a stunning collapse in labor force participation. Why? Government stimulus would reignite the private economy, causing a return to 4% GDP growth or higher, growth not seen since the late 1990s.

  • In August 2009, the White House predicted GDP would rise 4.3% in 2011, followed by 4.3% growth in 2012 and 2013, too.
  • In its 2010 forecast, the White House said it was looking for 3.5% GDP growth in 2012, followed by 4.4% in 2013.
  • In its 2011 forecast, the White House predicted 3.1% growth in 2011, 4.0% in 2012, and 4.5% in 2013.

In fact, the economy has only grown at half that pace during the recovery; even slower over the past year.


What a magnificent exercise in self-delusion.


James Pethokoukis has a devastating chart and blog post over at AEI outlining the utter, complete, and total failure of the president's economic policies.

On the surface, the July jobs report - the unemployment rate dipped to 7.4% last month thanks to a shrinking workforce as the economy added a disappointing 162,000 net new payrolls - is just another dismal data point in America's "new normal" recovery. But it's also an important milestone and metric for judging the Keynesian fiscal experiment known as Obamanomics.

In January 2009, Team Obama economists put together a report - half quantitative analysis, half sales pitch - outlining the potential economic impact of the proposed $800 billion stimulus. (See above chart from that report.) If Congress passed the plan, the report forecasted, the economy would generate enough additional demand, output, and employment that two big things would happen:

First, the unemployment rate would never reach 8%. Unfortunately, we hit 10% unemployment in October 2009. Failure number one.

Second, the unemployment rate would return to its long-term "natural rate" of 5% by July 2013 (a jobless rate, it should be noted, above the low points of the Bush and Clinton presidencies). Labor markets would be back to peak health. The Great Recession would truly and finally be over.

Mission accomplished by this jobless report.

Of course, we now know conclusively that this prediction - based as it was on the pixiedust magic of Keynesian fiscal multipliers - was a total failure, one even beyond what the July job numbers suggest.

This is important: Obama economists assumed the unemployment rate would return to 5% even without a stunning collapse in labor force participation. Why? Government stimulus would reignite the private economy, causing a return to 4% GDP growth or higher, growth not seen since the late 1990s.

  • In August 2009, the White House predicted GDP would rise 4.3% in 2011, followed by 4.3% growth in 2012 and 2013, too.
  • In its 2010 forecast, the White House said it was looking for 3.5% GDP growth in 2012, followed by 4.4% in 2013.
  • In its 2011 forecast, the White House predicted 3.1% growth in 2011, 4.0% in 2012, and 4.5% in 2013.

In fact, the economy has only grown at half that pace during the recovery; even slower over the past year.


What a magnificent exercise in self-delusion.


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