October 31, 2014

President’s Report Notes Economic Progress, Challenges

  • The federal budget is an expression of our country's values. Where we choose to spend and at what levels, how and who we tax, and the borrowing we...

In this year’s Economic Report of the President, the administration describes a recovery that is picking up speed. But President Obama and his economic advisers warn that more must be done both to help the recovery continue and, in the longer term, to reduce federal borrowing.

“In the last 23 months, businesses have created 3.7 million jobs,” Obama writes in the report, which was released Friday. “Last year, they created the most jobs since 2005.” The report places particular emphasis on manufacturing, which the President describes as creating jobs for the first time since the late 1990s.

“The U.S. economy has been expanding for two and a half years,” the President’s Council of Economic Advisers says in the report, “but the pace of economic growth and job growth has not been fast enough given the deep hole that was created by the sharp recession that started at the end of 2007.”

The advisers say that “sustaining and strengthening the ongoing recovery remains a top priority” for the administration, and Obama describes the current situation as “a make-or-break moment for the middle class, and for all those who are working to get into the middle class.”

On the subject of long-term fiscal responsibility, Obama notes that elected officials last year agreed to more than $2 trillion in cuts and savings that will take effect over the next 10 years. But he acknowledges that more needs to be done – an assessment that The Concord Coalition and other advocates of fiscal responsibility, including members of Obama’s bipartisan fiscal commission, have repeatedly voiced in recent months.

The President’s advisers note that since 2001 the federal debt “has been growing unsustainably” and they blamed several factors: the 2003 and 2003 tax cuts, increased military operations, the unfunded Medicare prescription drug benefit, and slow job and economic growth.

The White House released this year’s Economic Report four days after it formally unveiled its proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2013.