Mark Caserta: Progressivism extracts a price from middle class
Not unlike an accomplished illusionist who deceives the mind into believing something that is not true, the Obama administration and liberal abettors are using smoke and mirrors to fool Americans into believing our economy is trending in the right direction.
In the fourth of my series exposing the stratagem of the progressive movement in our society, we'll look at how liberals leverage auspicious economic metrics to obscure our nation's troubling long-term economic outlook.
Let's begin by examining how liberal media outlets exploit the U.S. stock market to espouse economic success for the Obama administration.
The Federal Reserve Board's Open Market Committee is the single most important federal agency to the stock market. Its action or inaction on interest rates has immediate consequences for investors, and the market tracks and anticipates those actions very carefully.
Now, by law, the Fed must conduct monetary policy to achieve maximum employment, stable prices and moderate, long-term interest rates.
While the three major indexes, the NASDAQ, the Dow and the S&P 500, have all been experiencing consistent gains and record highs, many fail to understand the volatile bubble forming around our economy.
Consider that $1 doesn't buy as much as it used to in the grocery store. Thanks to inflation, you have to make more money today to be able to buy as much as you did just a few years ago. The same is true for the stock market.
While many believe the Federal Reserve literally prints money, it actually doesn't. It engages in a creative form of bookkeeping called "quantitative easing," which provides an illusion of gain and essentially props up the nation's economy along with investor confidence.
Never in recent economic history have interest rates been so low for so long. I believe the Fed comprehends our economic instability primarily caused by our nation's unemployment and realizes raising rates would cause this so-called recovery to crumble like the walls of Jericho around us!
But liberals use multiple illusions of grandeur to hide the fact Obama is hurting the very people he promised to liberate.
When the government reports the unemployment rate is down to 6.1 percent, remember this represents only those who are available and have actively sought employment over the prior four weeks. Our nation's true unemployment rate, or total unemployed including those working part-time due to economic conditions, is around 12.9 percent.
While liberals celebrate meager job creation, remember the actual number of Americans participating in the labor force, currently at 67 percent, is the lowest it's been since 1978. And sadly, according to the Heritage Foundation, nearly 20 percent of households now depend on food assistance from the U.S. government.
It should anger America that Barack Obama built his presidential campaigns on fighting for the middle class, yet the gap between the haves and the have-nots has grown wider than ever.
Under the current administration, America is increasingly moving away from a society that flourishes under self-reliance and personal responsibility and toward one which traps families in a long-term relationship with big government.
Just more fruit of the progressive movement.
Mark Caserta is a conservative blogger, a Cabell County resident and a regular contributor to The Herald-Dispatch editorial page.