President Barack Obama and Japan’s Shizo Abe both face sluggish economies that have been stimulated to the limit with few, if any, positive results. To his credit, Abe recognizes the need for the politically tough “structural reforms” of credit, agriculture, and retail sales to restore Japanese growth. Obama ignores the deep structural problems of the U.S. economy – over regulation, the uncertainties of Obama Care, anti-growth tax policy, and growing entitlement incentives not to work. Instead, he offers minor sops masquerading as reform, and blames his five-years-out-of-office predecessor for what is wrong today. Under Abe, Japan, at last, has a chance of revitalization. Under Obama, the U.S. will see more of the same. He cannot attack the structural problems restraining the U.S. recovery because they are largely of his own making. The pitiful recovery was authored in Washington.
In yesterday’s hour and four minute speech, President Obama reprised his many “pivot to the economy” speeches of the past: He inherited a mess from Bush, but he got America moving again. He has been blocked by a recalcitrant opposition determined to see him fail. Without his bold actions, we would still be mired in a painful recession. The President paraded a wish list of shopworn mini-fixes – youth training, mortgage relief, more infrastructure investment — and “mother and apple pie” calls to bring American jobs and manufacturing back home. He failed to offer any concrete proposals how to create jobs and accelerate tepid growth.
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