Analysts had predicted the Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index would climb to 70 in May. Instead it dropped more than four points to 64.9, the biggest drop since last fall.
It's the latest in another round of disappointing numbers. Just a few weeks ago, new jobs came in "unexpectedly" low. And before that, GDP data disappointed.
Underperforming economic indicators have been so common under Obama that the only mystery is why the experts keep getting caught off guard.
In the case of the Consumer Confidence Index, the current number — bad as it is — doesn't even tell the whole story.
First, it's worth noting the index has fallen for three months. Even if it had hit forecasts, it would still be well below 90, which signals a healthy economy.
The current reading is worse when you realize that under President Bush — you know, the guy who Obama says ruined the economy — confidence averaged 88.
That's despite two recessions, a terrorist massacre and two long wars. Throughout Obama's "recovery," the index has averaged 57.
The 1981-82 recession lasted almost as long as the last one — 16 months vs. 18 months — and pushed unemployment higher. Yet confidence roared back as Reagan's economic policies powered a strong and sustained recovery, with the index topping 100 most months.
What reason do people have to feel confident today?
Almost three years into the recovery, unemployment is still above 8%, household incomes are down more than 5%, gasoline prices remain at historic highs, and the economy can only eke out meager gains.
On top of this, we learned this week that housing prices are back at their mid-2002 levels. So, naturally, Obama's again making excuses and shifting blame.
It's the fault of the long recession, he says. The economy is still facing "head winds." The GOP is "standing in the way" of his new stimulus spending plans and creating "uncertainty" with its calls for more spending cuts in exchange for another debt ceiling increase.
The real reason the economy is so vulnerable to "head winds" is because Obama's recovery has been so lousy. That has nothing to do with the recession, since deep recessions are typically followed by even more powerful recoveries.
Indeed, the only reason the economy continues to struggle for breath is because Obama continues to choke off its air supply. Even now, he has no clue how his policy prescriptions of vast new federal spending, gargantuan debt, massive regulation, a government health care takeover, and endless bashing of businessmen, profits and the "rich" are hampering growth.
Still, we are confident of one thing. The economy will come roaring back to life once all that stops.