Unable to push through Congress limits on CO2 emissions, President Obama has used executive orders and the EPA to impose limits by fiat. Unfortunately, those actions will raise manufacturing costs; China has no such limits, and all this encourages business to outsource in China -- again fewer jobs for the middle class and aspiring middle class.

Free-trade agreements that permit trading partners to undervalue their currencies, subsidize exports and artificially underprice their products on U.S. store shelves; health care mandates that raise the price of insuring employees instead of controlling costs; unnecessarily cumbersome regulations to run factories; mindless limits on developing U.S. oil reserves; and exporting abundant natural gas to countries that shut out U.S. products with high tariffs. All of this encourages outsourcing, not just in manufacturing, but for many supporting services, too -- yet again, fewer jobs for middle class Americans.

Performance not polemics is the problem. His progressive agenda has accomplished 2.1% growth and an anemic job market since the economic recovery began.

In comparable circumstances, Ronald Reagan engineered 5% growth and many more middle class jobs by rejecting the failed policies of the left and betting on American's competitive instincts.

Democrats are asking too much of President Obama to explain how his agenda helps the middle class. There's no there, there.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.
Professor Peter Morici, of the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland, is a recognized expert on economic policy and international economics. Prior to joining the university, he served as director of the Office of Economics at the U.S. International Trade Commission. He is the author of 18 books and monographs and has published widely in leading public policy and business journals, including the Harvard Business Review and Foreign Policy. Morici has lectured and offered executive programs at more than 100 institutions, including Columbia University, the Harvard Business School and Oxford University. His views are frequently featured on CNN, CBS, BBC, FOX, ABC, CNBC, NPR, NPB and national broadcast networks around the world.

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