President Barack Obama, when asked to name an accomplishment for which he is most proud, said, “I’m proud of saving the American economy.” Breathtaking.
Let’s examine the facts, using only government, left wing — or, at least, non-conservative — statistics, sources or analyses.
In 2012, the third year of the Obama recovery, the Associated Press wrote: “Since World War II, 10 U.S. recessions have been followed by a recovery that lasted at least three years. An Associated Press analysis shows that by just about any measure, the one that began in June 2009 is the weakest. … Economic growth has never been weaker in a postwar recovery. Consumer spending has never been so slack. Only once has job growth been slower. More than in any other post-World War II recovery, people who have jobs are hurting: Their paychecks have fallen behind inflation.”
PBS’ Tavis Smiley, who possesses industrial-style contempt for the economic policies of former President Ronald Reagan, said in January, 2016: “On every leading economic issue, in the leading economic issues black Americans have lost ground in every one of those leading categories. So in the last ten years it hasn’t been good for black folk.”
Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo., then the head of the Congressional Black Caucus, said in 2011, when the official black unemployment stood at 14.1 percent: “As the chair of the Black Caucus, I’ve got to tell you, we are always hesitant to criticize the President. With 14 percent (black) unemployment, if we had a white president we’d be marching around the White House.”
According to the Federal Reserve, while white households’ median wealth slightly increased from 2010 to 2013, Hispanic households’ net worth dropped 14 percent, while black net worth fell from $16,600 to $11,000 — a three-year drop of 34 percent.
The national “official” rate of unemployment — as released by the U.S. Department of Labor and touted by the media — stands at 4.9 percent, the lowest since 2008. As to this official rate, when, by 2015, it had dropped to 5.6 percent, Gallup CEO Jim Clifton wrote: “None of them will tell you this: If you, a family member or anyone is unemployed and has subsequently given up on finding a job — if you are so hopelessly out of work that you’ve stopped looking over the past four weeks — the Department of Labor doesn’t count you as unemployed. That’s right. While you are as unemployed as one can possibly be, and tragically may never find work again, you are not counted in the figure we see relentlessly in the news — currently 5.6 percent. Right now, as many as 30 million Americans are either out of work or severely underemployed. Trust me, the vast majority of them aren’t throwing parties to toast ‘falling’ unemployment. …
“There’s no other way to say this. The official unemployment rate, which cruelly overlooks the suffering of the long-term and often permanently unemployed as well as the depressingly underemployed, amounts to a Big Lie.”
OK, some of the above statements are opinions, even if non-conservative, and some of the statistics applied to the state of the economy two to four years ago.
What about now?
Gross Domestic Product: The recession ended in June 2009. Obama’s recovery, according to the Joint Economic Committee, averaged an inflation-adjusted GDP growth of 2.2 percent over the next 25 quarters. The average recovery following post-1960 economic slowdowns, which lasted more than 12 months, is 3.9 percent, and under President Ronald Reagan it was 4.8 percent. President Obama will be the first president to reign over a recovery in which not a single year’s economy grew at least 3 percent.
Jobs: During this recovery, private-sector jobs grew 11.6 percent. According to the Congressional Joint Economic Committee., the private-sector job growth under the average recovery is 17.0 percent. Under Ronald Reagan, average job growth was 23.6 percent.
The national debt: When Obama entered the White House, the federal debt stood at $10 trillion. Federal debt, according to the summary tables in the last budget Obama submitted — which runs through September 30, 2017 — will be over $20 trillion.
The reason the Reagan recovery and the Obama recovery are analogous is that, as Tavis Smiley put it, the “leading” economic “categories” were similar.
Under Reagan, unemployment peaked at 10.8 percent, under Obama at 10.0 percent. In the early ’80s under Reagan, inflation averaged 13.5 percent, under Obama, it’s been relatively tame. Under Reagan, prime interest rates hit 20.5 percent. So blaming the tepid Obama recovery on the “unprecedented” harsh numbers of so-called “Great Recession” he inherited won’t fly, despite the pass — and frequent praise — Obama gets from the media.
Just days ago, in Argentina, Obama explained that the debate between communism and capitalism was merely an “interesting intellectual argument.” He suggested that each state simply “choose from what works.”
By that standard, Obamanomics — compared to the Reagan-style policy of reducing taxes, slowing down government spending, and decreasing regulation — simply … hasn’t … worked.
COPYRIGHT 2016 LAURENCE A. ELDER
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Larry Elder is a best-selling author and radio talk-show host. To find out more about Larry Elder, or become an “Elderado,” visit www.LarryElder.com. Follow Larry on Twitter @larryelder.
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