Lately I feel as though I am living the world of opposites, where a long cold Winter is a sign of global warming, free speech is only free as long as it is practiced in the echo chamber of political correctness, and the U.S. stock market is hitting new highs in the midst of one of the worst economies in post-World War II America. Every day I scratch my head as I watch the glut of bad macro-economic data, historically low corporate earnings, and a deterioration of geopolitical stability as has not happened in decades, and yet the market rises.
Gross Domestic Product growth in the first quarter of 2014 barely managed to grow, clocking in with a one tenth of one percent increase. The average in the last 70 years has been 3.2%, a level that the Obama recovery considers a pipe dream. Most recoveries from recessions of the past grew out of economic malaise with GDP growth rates of 4-5%. But I guess when you have the lowest number of people ever participating in the work force, the economy does not need to grow much.
The current earnings season on Wall St. has seen all thirty of the Dow Industrial Average component companies reporting earnings and revenue below last year at the same time. Not that last year's earnings were anything to pick daisies over, but is not the definition of a recession when the economy begins to recede? Most of the other companies reporting earnings, even when they have achieved the low expectations of the analysts, have had revenue that has fallen below that of only a year ago.
And yesterday the retail sales data for the month of April showed an increase in sales of only one tenth of one percent. In essence no growth at all. I remember the good old days of the Bush administration when the media was trying to convince everyone that the country was in the depths of recession with an unemployment rate at 4.9%, GDP growth averaging 3.6%, and data like retail sales would show improvement of 2-3% a month. But then those were the evil days when companies actually made a profit and hired workers who spent their paychecks in the economy creating even more wealth to create even more jobs.
This mediocre, slowly grinding, stuck-in-mud-up-to-its-knees economy does not seem to trouble the Obama administration, or their trained seals in the media. In fact they applaud it like a mother of a four year old fawning over the colored scribbles her child created on construction paper. And while this president and his administration act like four year olds, they are in control of one of the most powerful institutions in the world. It is analogous to putting an emotionally disturbed child in charge of Apple computer.
With this economy that produces chronically high unemployment, a barely growing domestic product, massive expansion of entitlements, and a foreign policy that is in desperate need of some sort of leadership Viagra, the United States may just as well fill out the application for admittance to the European Union and call it a day. Barack Obama has succeeded to do in five years what our enemies have failed to do in over 200, he has hollowed out the core greatness of America that has sustained us through many a bad times. And he has done so with the unwitting approval of a population that has allowed itself to be told it is incapable of anything greater.