You know we’re in trouble when even the Associated Press can no longer determinedly avoid the big-picture reality of our current economic mess. According to an AP report released earlier today, we’re most definitely still in the midst of the most weaksauce economic recovery since the Great Depression.

America’s gross domestic product — the broadest measure of economic output — grew 6.8 percent from the April-June quarter of 2009 through the same quarter this year, the slowest in the first three years of a postwar recovery. GDP grew an average of 15.5 percent in the first three years of the eight other comebacks analyzed. …

Consumer spending has grown just 6.5 percent since the recession ended, feeblest in a postwar recovery. In the first three years of previous recoveries, spending rose an average of nearly 14 percent. …

The economy shed a staggering 8.8 million jobs during and shortly after the recession. Since employment hit bottom, the economy has created just over 4 million jobs. So the new hiring has replaced 46 percent of the lost jobs, by far the worst performance since World War II. In the previous eight recoveries, the economy had regained more than 350 percent of the jobs lost, on average. …

Never before have so many Americans been unemployed for so long three years into a recovery. Nearly 5.2 million have been out of work for six months or more. The long-term unemployed account for 41 percent of the jobless; the highest mark in the other recoveries was 22 percent.

Yikes. Not pretty, is it? And yes, I’m sure Team Obama could provide us with a million and one “headwinds” still facing our economy and why none of them are the President’s fault — fiscal troubles in Europe, lingering negative effects from Obama’s ‘predecessor,’ competition from China, natural disasters, ‘Republican gridlock’ in Congress, rabble rabble rabble. But our problems are much too persistent and far too huge to be exclusively due to factors outside of the current administration’s control. What possible justifications can Team Obama offer us for electing Obama to a second term? Because the recovery would have been even worse without President Obama’s bold, effective leadership? Not likely. As Charles Kadlec wrote for Forbes earlier this week, Obama owns this economy — as much as his supporters are going to try to convince us otherwise.

The traditional measure of the success of an Administration’s economic program has been real economic growth, employment growth, the unemployment rate and the like.  Based on these criteria, the Obama Administration’s economic program has been a dismal failure:

-Real economic growth during the recovery – now three years old – has averaged 2.2%, less than half of the historic average for post recession rebounds.

-There are 1.1 million fewer people on non-farm payrolls today than when President Obama took office.

-The unemployment rate has been above 8% for 42 consecutive months, the longest period of sustained high unemployment since the Great Depression.

Four years ago, then Senator Obama ran for President, promising to fundamentally change America.  Based on that goal, his Administration’s economic program has been an extraordinary success!