“The reason the economy is getting better* is because [House Speaker] Nancy Pelosi and every Democrat here embraced the responsibility to lead,” said President Obama before detailing legislation on • credit card reform • increased funding for veterans • remaking the student loan system and • an overhaul of the health care system.
“This has been one of the most productive legislative sessions in history — in the midst of crisis,” said Obama. He did acknowledge, however, that “these guys have taken more tough votes in the last 16 months than Congress had taken in the previous 16 years.”
To republicans, Obama had a mocking message. “You would have thought at a time of historic crisis that Republican leaders would have been more willing to help us find a way out of this mess — particularly since they created the mess,” he said at one point, adding, jokingly: “Don’t tell me how to mop. Pick up a mop!”
*The economy is being boosted by higher retail sales, stronger factory output and a rise in companies’ stockpiles.
This improving picture emerged from reports Friday, May 15th, indicating an economy that’s improving modestly but steadily after the Worst Recession in the eight decades since the last republican Great Depression. Yet the recovery needs stronger job creation.
Seems we may expect a sub-par recovery because of:
- persistently high unemployment,
- tightly restricted credit from the institutions citizens saved,
- and still-high debt loads within the average household.
Still, other signs point to correction:
- decent gains in payroll employment in recent months have improved the outlook for spending.
- Retail sales rose in April for the seventh straight month,
- rising in the first three months of this year at the fastest pace in three years, according to the Commerce Department report.
- Industrial production also climbed in April, posting an 0.8 percent gain.
- Factories, the biggest slice of industrial activity, ratcheted up output by a brisk 1 percent for a second straight month, the Federal Reserve report showed.
- And total business sales gained 2.3 percent — the sixth straight increase and the best showing in four months.
- The overall economy, as measured by the gross domestic product, grew at annual rate of 3.2 percent. That gain was led by the biggest advance in consumer spending in three years.
In April, payroll jobs grew by 290,000, the most in four years. Still, the unemployment rate rose to 9.9 percent as the number of long-term unemployed (> 27 weeks) continues shooting straight up with no sign of rebirth in sight. More work remains to be done to correct for a decade of republican destruction. → → → → → →