Unemployment is running at 10 percent, rounded off, for the 11th straight month, but few employers are hiring and a million people have stopped looking for work in the last year. Small-business hiring is at a nine-month low, and retail sales are tailing off.
Government policies designed to stimulate the economy seem to be having the opposite effect. Consumers aren’t buying, businesses aren’t hiring, and those fortunate enough to have some cash on hand don’t seem to be investing.
I call it the mattress economy.
People seem to be following this investment strategy. Step one: Go to Mattress Discounters and buy the biggest mattress you can find. Step two: Take it home, and stuff all your money in it. Step three: Lie down, and get some rest.
This hurts the economy, but it’s a rational response to the Obama Democrats’ public policies. And that’s not just the view of their political opponents.
Consider the plaint of Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg, head of the Business Roundtable, which has been playing footsie with the Obama administration for most of the last 18 months. “By reaching into virtually every sector of economic life,” Seidenberg recently wrote, “government is injecting uncertainty into the marketplace and making it harder to raise new capital and create new businesses.”