The OFA challenge is daunting, and I pause at the 4th holiday week to admire the Obama Team challenge. For the next 120 days, OFA must avoid or finesse or redefine the obvious deterioration of the American middle class standard of living. Spoke Jim McTague, Barron's in the wake of the "blah" jobs report for June and the summary of the soft jobs reports for 2Q. McTague points to a new survey that warns of worse weather coming for the cumsumer and therefore for the US GDP in 3Q:
BIGinsight's June monthly consumer survey, 80.4 percent of people with school-aged children say the economy will impact their spending plans. Compared to July 2011, when NRF released its last back-to-school/college spending surveys, that's down from 86.1 percent. College students and their families aren't far off - 79.8 percent said the economy will impact their college-related spending plans.
The US GDP is dominated by consumer spending, up to 70% of the GDP before the Great Recession, dipping as low at 67% in 2009: This all adds up to no recovery for the OFA to point to between now and Election Day, and beyond. It also means that the US families are reducing expectations for their children. Less private schooling, less book buying, more living at home or delaying college and reducing a four year to a two year program, or spreading out the semesters needed to gain a degree. (Consequentially we can watch for colleges and universities continuing to close doors of programs and not to replace retiring faculty.) Why this matters more to the OFA than to the plutocrats of Castle Romney, is that OFA battle plan for the swing states must have a 2008 turnout of the youth vote, 18-29. The youngest voter demo is where the damage is most obvious to expectations and opportunities. Repeat the factor of the campaign: half of the college graduates since 2006 are not fully employed. Spoke to Dino Falaschetti, PERC, that this is a curse that will haunt a generation over the course of their work lives, extending past 2050. Can OFA convince the youngest demo to ignore the alienation and turnout to vote again for an administration now entangled in the failure of the Great Recession? Blame-shifting is the single weapon I can identify that might work. Is anybody under 29 listening? If OFA manages these 120 days successfully, it will be a miraculous achievement in presidential runs. Is a miracle a plan?