Can you say stagflation? The Jimmy Carter years may be repeating themselves as the Obama economy continues to flounder. U.S. economic growth slowed to a 1.8 percent annual rate in the first quarter of 2011, after a 3.1 percent fourth quarter pace last year. Meanwhile, food and gasoline prices have sent the broad measure of inflation rising at its fastest pace in 2-1/2 years. To make matters worse, more people sought unemployment benefits last week. This was the second increase in applications for unemployment benefits in three weeks.
Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke hinted yesterday that such disturbing news was in the offing, at the first scheduled press conference in the Fed’s history. But, no doubt in an effort to calm the markets, he played down the significance of the lower growth and higher inflation figures as transitory.
Bernanke did acknowledge, however, that inflation concerns would most likely keep the Fed from engaging in additional quantitative easing – i.e., printing money to spur growth – after the current round of $600 billion in Treasury securities purchases ends in June:
The trade-offs are getting harder at this point. Inflation is getting higher
What Bernanke could not bring himself to acknowledge was how the Fed’s quantitative easing policies and the Obama administration’s run-away debt have contributed significantly to devaluation of the dollar and the rise of prices – particularly the price of oil which OPEC ties to the dollar. However, Bernanke did make news in effectively debunking Obama’s attempt to blame speculators and colluding oil companies for the rise of oil prices. Bernanke said that the rise is explained by the basic “mantra” of economics – supply and demand.
Obsessed with President Obama’s release of his birth certificate and the royal wedding, the mainstream press did not provide the kind of prominent coverage of Bernanke’s press conference that it deserved. The New York Times, for example, ran a front page story today entitled “Citing ‘Silliness,’ Obama Shows Birth Certificate,” but chose to confine the Bernanke press conference to its business section. The elitists at the Times felt that Bernanke’s “technical answers” to reporters’ questions
at times may have passed beyond the reach of any casual viewers
The Times wants us to look away from the Obama stagflation, much less the huge accumulating national debt, that its ‘Deliverer’ has delivered.
Primetime cable news didn’t do any better. For example, the “O’Reilly Factor” last night focused on the Obama birth certificate issue, Donald Trump, and the royal wedding. On MSNBC, whose hosts have spent more time in the last week talking about the Obama citizenship issue than those on Fox News or CNN, Rachel Maddow carried a four minute race-baiting diatribe by MSNBC contributor Goldie Taylor on the birth certificate controversy.
A dry presentation by Fed Chairman Bernanke cannot compete with sensationalism – or a “distraction,’ as President Obama put it after he released his birth certificate and prepared to fly to Chicago for a taping of the “Oprah Winfrey Show” and then to New York City for three fund-raisers.
Look for more distractions coming from the White House to divert attention away from President Obama’s pitiful economic record of huge deficits and stagflation. But Americans will be reminded every time they fill up their gas tanks, buy groceries or look for a job.
Postscript: A left-wing troll commented on my post yesterday entitled “President Obama Refuses To Label The Turkish Muslim Slaughter of Armenian Christians As Genocide,” accusing me of using a double-standard:
you actually think a partisan hack rightist like Joey Klein is going to criticize a Republican for doing the same thing that he criticizes a Democrat for?
First of all, Ronald Reagan – our last great President – did refer to the Armenian massacre as “genocide.”
Secondly, I agree that George Bush showed moral cowardice in not following Reagan’s example. But the crucial difference, which the left-wing troll either ignores or agrees with, is Obama’s tendency to knock his own country, which was on display again with his gratutious reference to “the dark chapters in our own history” in the statement he issued on Armenian Remembrance Day.
Joseph Klein is the author of a recent book entitled Lethal Engagement: Barack Hussein Obama, the United Nations and Radical Islam