Even with a stock market hitting respectable highs and a monthly unemployment report that seems to be trending downward, few economic experts would be willing to call what we currently have a boom market. Years after Obama’s recovery began, there are still plenty of signs that America has yet to rebound from the recession. Let’s take a look at the factors keeping the country from getting back to normal.

Labor Participation
The dirty little secret of Obama’s unemployment numbers is that many Americans have left the employment sector altogether. Once these people are no longer looking for a job, they are dropped from the unemployment ranks. Many of the people dropping out of the job race are retiring baby boomers, but that doesn’t begin to explain them all. Many of them have simply given up. What happens to these people once they simply decide not to look for a job? Well, unless they are fortunate enough to find a money tree, many of them apply for disability or go on federal assistance. Very few individuals are neutral in how they contribute to American society. You’re either giving or you’re taking. The more takers we have, the higher taxes go.

Illegal Immigration
Try as the left might to make it sound as if illegal immigrants don’t harm the economy – some even go so far as to claim they help – the truth is that a growing population of non-English-speaking, poverty-stricken, low-skilled individuals presents a tremendous strain. Not only do they take jobs that could be performed by American workers, but they also draw from our healthcare system, our welfare, and our educational resources.

Obamacare
President Obama’s big step towards socialized medicine has proven to be an obstacle for doctors, a disaster for employers, and a plague on patients. The employer mandate has yet to go into effect, but already several federal reserve banks have reported on the unfortunate effects the law has had on employment.

In the end, Obama’s policies make it more difficult for the country to pull itself out of the depths of the recession and back to solid ground. While the country is certainly in better shape now than it was six years ago, it has yet to flirt with the golden years of the Bush administration. Even in the wake of 9/11, responsible Republican strategies were able to get the country back on its feet. Many of Obama’s policies are not only failing to work, but they are actually making it impossible for the country to recover.

The path forward to a better economy will be a difficult one, but it must be walked before we wind up with another stock market crash. A fall from our current wishy-washy economy would hurt, badly. To prepare ourselves, we need to come up with a comprehensive way to put an end to illegal immigration, Obamacare, and voluntary unemployment. It is only by tackling these issues head-on that we will ever again see what America’s economy is really capable of.