Last week, Michigan’s Bureau of Labor Market Information announced that their state’s unemployment rate spiked in June, hitting 15.2%, the highest rate since mid-1983. Five other states, Rhode Island (12.4%), Oregon (12.2%), South Carolina (12.1%), Nevada (12%), and California (11.6%) all have either matched or surpassed their all time unemployment highs. Nationwide, a total of fifteen states are now suffering from 10% unemployment. The Federal Reserve predicts that double digit unemployment will envelope most of the country later this year.

But despite the weakness of the economy nationwide, one region in the country is doing much better. Compared to the national 9.5% unemployment average, at 6.2%, the unemployment rate in the Washington, D.C. metro region is lower than any other major metropolitan area in the country. And there is no secret about the source of D.C.’s economic strength: the rest of the country’s tax dollars are being siphoned through the rapidly-expanding federal government. Fifteen cents of every dollar the federal government doles out throughout the world is spent in the Washington area. Last year alone, the federal government poured $133 billion into the area, making the federal government the source for about one-third of Washington’s $401 billion economy.

And, of course, the size of the federal government is exploding under President Barack Obama. According to the Partnership for Public Service, the federal workforce, currently at 1.9 million, is expected to grow to about 2.1 million during the Obama administration. That is comparable to the staffing level during the Johnson administration’s Great Society programs of the 1960s. And that does not even include the boon in industries that feed off of the trillions of dollars pumping through the federal government. Lawyers, lobbyists, and accountants have all been huge winners in the Obama economy.

The fundamental problem with all of President Obama’s policies: his wasted $787 stimulus bill, his trillion dollar cap and tax energy plan, his trillion dollar health plan, etc., is that none of them work to grow the economy– they only redistribute it. So what does make the economy grow? The Heritage Foundation explains:

Importantly, economic growth is not the consequence of government policies or of some master economic plan. It results from millions of people individually seeking what is in their own interests by providing what is in the interests of others, and the collective consequence of their actions is to increase the number of jobs in the economy, the wages earned by workers, and the income and wealth of the nation.

In a free economy, an engineer in California identifies a new technology that increases energy efficiency, brings it to market, and makes millions. In the Obama economy, lobbyists in Washington carve out financial rewards for their corporate clients. In a free economy, a geologist in Houston identifies new energy resources that lower energy costs for everyone and creates thousands of jobs. In the Obama economy, lawyers in Washington find loopholes in thousand page-energy legislation that saves their clients millions. In a free economy, doctors work with patients to choose what medical procedures are best them. In the Obama economy, a single unelected board of bureaucrats decides which procedures will be paid for, and which will not.

President Obama has promised the American people there will be 138.6 million jobs by the end of 2010. He’s currently 4.2 million jobs short. As long as he keeps trying to control the economy by increasing Washington’s power and wealth, the Obama jobs gap will only grow wider.

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