U.S. consumer confidence unexpectedly plunged in January to its lowest level in more than a year. The U.S. economy unexpectedly posted a contraction in the fourth quarter of 2012—for the first time since the recession—"defying" expectations that economic growth is in our future.

If the economy were as vibrant as President Barack Obama has told us it is, writes David Harsanyi, a belt tightening in a single sector of government surely wouldn't be enough to bring about "negative growth." But one did. The reality is that despite constant assurances that America is "poised for growth," all evidence points to an economy that's going nowhere.