Professor disaster Bam's theories killing economy Last Updated: 1:46 AM, June 9, 2011 Posted: 10:23 PM, June 8, 2011 No billions or trillions needed -- here's the simplest number to describe the dismal state of the US economy: One. With the departure of chief economic adviser Austan Goolsbee, that's the number of members from the original Obama economic team still working for the administration, not quite three years into the first term. Rats, say goodbye to the ship of state: Gone are Christina Romer, Larry Summers, Peter Orszag. Headed out is Goolsbee, who abruptly announced his resignation Monday to return to teaching at the University of Chicago. With the water lapping over the gunwales, the lone holdout is Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, the former tax cheat, who sails grimly on. The government racked up $5.3 trillion in new fiscal obligations last year alone -- bringing the current unfunded tab for future expenses on things like Medicare, Social Security and military medical and retirement programs to a whopping $61.6 trillion, or $534,000 per American household. Then there's today's bills: We're borrowing $125 billion a month that we have no hope of ever paying back on our current course. The growth in GDP declined to a measly 1.8 percent in the first quarter of 2011 as consumers hung desperately onto their wallets. Job growth has completely collapsed. Fully 60 percent of the electorate thinks the country is on the wrong track. No wonder the daily economic briefing, once on a par with the intelligence briefing, has vanished from President Obama's schedule. Heckuva job, guys. And now Obama says he's not worried about a double-dip recession. Easy for him to say: For Americans not feeding at the government trough, the first recession never ended. We are witnessing the total failure of academic Keynesian economics, with its heavy emphasis on high taxes and exorbitant government spending. Yet Obama sails blithely on, already in full campaign mode and still blaming George W. Bush and the Republicans (admittedly no models of fiscal restraint or responsibility) for everything. Worse, the what-me-worry president continues to insist that the ongoing hard times are just a "bump in the road" -- that if we can just get the "fortunate" rich to "pay a little more" everything will be just fine. Never mind that most of the "rich" got their own money by inventing a product or providing a service in the private sector. That they invested an enormous amount of their own capital and sweat equity before it paid off. That they did it for the most part without any help from Obama or his friends in academe. And never mind that if you tax the rich at 100 percent of their wealth, the country will still go bankrupt. Bump in the road to what, Mr. President? The road to perdition? The truth is, the only jobs the government can "create" are more government jobs. That's why real-estate values in DC are booming even as they've plunged everywhere else. As Obama seeks Goolsbee's replacement, he might try looking toward the real world, where businesses are born. In the faculty lounge inhabited by the president and his credentialed playmates, the economy is a controlled experiment, with manufacturers and consumers mere lab rats who cheerfully respond to the prodding of their ivory-tower betters, no matter how many taxes and regulations are piled onto their backs. Oops. What's needed now is a radical re-thinking of economic theory and the tax structure. Until the economy is addressed, we can't make rational, realistic decisions about anything else, including foreign policy. In other words, private-sector jobs are Job One. Of course, Obama's aiming to make the 2012 election a re-run of '08, with the same hope-and-change shtick. He and his campaign gurus understand that their only hope is to give the electorate the old razzle-dazzzle and hope nobody notices the foreclosure signs sprouting across the land. How will we know when things are finally starting to go in the right direction? When the US is back on the right track and when hope -- real hope -- once more springs eternal? When the number of Obama holdovers in the next administration is zero.