Saturday, January 9, 2016

Obama Economic Policy Bears Fruit

The continual sledge hammering of the US economy by the Obama Administration is beginning to bear fruit.  Job growth, by any measure mediocre at best, is concentrated in the lowest paying jobs in the economy.  High paying jobs have been disappearing.  Now, it appears, the economy may be contemplating heading over the nearest cliff.

The only virtue about a sluggish economy is that if you don't climb too high, you can't fall too far.  That is about the only consolation for this mess.

Meanwhile, Obamacare has created a frightening crisis for those who lost their low-deductible insurance policies that they owned before Obama decided to "fix" America's health care system. It used to be that only the uninsured were bankrupted by their medical bills, but no longer.  Due to the extraordinarily high deductibles, not well understood at the time, middle class Americans are gravitating down the income scales, many taking personal bankruptcy.  Obamacare is accelerating the process of moving millions of Americans out of the middle class and into the ranks of the poor.

About the only thing that seemed to shine during the Obama years was the stock market, which soared from low 6,000 to over 19,000 in seven years.  This pleased Bill Clinton, Warren Buffett, Al Gore, John Kerry and other limousine billionaires (maybe Clinton is only worth a paltry few hundred million).  But, now stocks don't look so hot.

Neither do public pension funds.  Most of these funds were 70 percent funded coming into early 2015.  Do a little arithmetic.  If a fund with $ 70 billion was 70 percent funded back then, it's liabilities must have been $ 100 billion. The 7 % actuarial assumption embedded in these plans means that the $ 100 billion liability is now $ 107 billion.  What's happened to the fund's investments.  They are down about 6 percent since early 2015.  That's $ 4.2 billion.  Add that to the $ 7 billion increase in liabilities.  This means a $70 billion (now worth $ 65.8 billion) pension fund has an increase in unfunded liabilities over the past twelve months of $ 11.2 billion.  That's a sobering number and it will likely get worse, much worse, over the next sixteen months. Guess where state and local budgets are headed?

I guess tightening gun control laws and releasing terrorists to restart their careers in terror is the new economic policy.  So far, it hasn't been explained to me how this will help the middle class American, but presumably Obama and his allies have an explanation at the ready.

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