“We’ve slipped away from a true Republic,” Texas Congressman Ron Paul claimed in a speech to a Missouri audience February 18. “Now we’re slipping into a fascist system where it’s a combination of government and big business and authoritarian rule and the suppression of the individual rights of each and every American citizen.”

Last Friday marked the third-year anniversary of President Obama’s $787-billion economic "stimulus" law and it scored a rather grim milestone: The unemployment rate held steady above eight percent for 36 months, the longest period since World War II. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the current 8.3-percent unemployment rate is precisely where it stood three years ago when the legislation, called the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), was signed into law. The previous record for above-8-percent unemployment was 27 months, which transpired in the early 1980s.

ObamaIn his State of the Union address President Obama touted the "rebound" in the economy, taking credit for his administration’s policies in its recovery. He pointed to two years of job growth and the fastest job creation since 2005 but without putting such results in context.

The deadline for comments on the proposed Volcker Rule was Monday night and hundreds, if not thousands, of letters arrived at the last minute to rail against the rule, mostly from Wall Street. The Volcker Rule — which would prohibit banks from trading with their own money — was proposed last summer by former chairman of the Federal Reserve Paul Volcker, who said in a letter to President Obama that they shouldn’t be gambling with money guaranteed by the taxpayers. Big losses by government-backed banks that were trading in risky securities such as mortgage-backed assets precipitated the financial crisis in 2008 and set up the need for federal bailouts of those banks.

The numbers posted at Investors Business Daily over the weekend by John Merline were impressive: U.S. manufacturing profits last year exceeded $600 billion, almost tripling since the bottom of the recession, while jobs in manufacturing have increased by 400,000 in the past two years. Unemployment in manufacturing has been below the national average for eight straight months, and the industry itself has been growing at three times the rate of the overall economy.