Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Rising Misery Index

The misery index is on the rise.  Via Investors Business Daily:

As if the picture weren't bleak enough, here's one more data point to worry about — the Misery Index is on the rise.  Conceived by economist Arthur Okun in the early 1970s, the Misery Index simply adds together the inflation and unemployment rates to create an effective indicator of real-world suffering.

It gained notoriety under President Carter, whose growth-choking, easy-money policies pushed the index to its post-World War II high. Now, under President Obama's equally disastrous economic policies, the Misery Index is making its return.

 It's easy to see why.  I posted earlier this week on the dismal economic numbers.  Unemployment is up.  Retail sales are down.  Inventories are up.  Auto sales are down.  All taken together it is a dismal picture:

The annual inflation rate for May climbed to 3.6% as price spikes spread beyond oil and food. At the same time, May's unemployment rate edged up to 9.1%, yielding a Misery Index of 12.7.

That marks the fourth straight monthly increase in the index, which is now 62% higher than it was when Obama took office, and 57% higher than it was when the recession officially ended.

Obama's Misery Index average of 10.37 is higher than George W. Bush's (8.11) or Bill Clinton's (7.8).
Ace of Spades posted this video of Obama from 2009 in which he says, "I'm at the start of my administration.  One nice thing about the situation I find myself in is that I will be held accountable.  I've got four years....If I don't have this done in three years then there's going to be a one term proposition."

Of course it's still all George Bush's fault.  If Obama is a one-termer it will be because Bush left him such a mess he just couldn't fix it in one term.  That will be the narrative.  "Oh it was much bigger and much worse than we thought!" 

Obama is at -19 on Rasmussen today.  Not his lowest, but low enough.  Just 27% of those polled think that America is headed in the right direction.  I wonder about those 27%, seriously.  What exactly do they think Obama is doing that is right? 

The IBD editorial breaks out by category what has led us to this point, including Obama's seeming war on private enterprise.  The devastation, for example, his moratorium in the Gulf caused in south Louisiana is unmeasurable as you consider all the business related to drilling that have been washed under:  diners, restaurants, oil field supply, even down to the simple sno cone vendor.  It's a huge ripple effect.

This election will be about the economy.  It will be about jobs and what the candidate can do to get things  moving again.  Obama will plead that he needs more time, but I think it's clear that his policy of growing government, high spendng, and rewarding his cronies is not the way to lower our misery index.

I believe Obama was right.  He's going to be a one-termer.

(H/T:  Memeorandum)

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