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Your Call: Did Obama Improve the American Economy?

September 8, 2016 - 5:45pm

President Obama wants to be remembered for being the savior of the American and global economies. "There are things I’m proud of," he said earlier this year, citing Obamacare, then added, "Saving the world economy from a Great Depression, that was pretty good."

But the Wall Street Journal isn't buying it.

“When did Americans decide that 1 percent or 2 percent economic growth is acceptable, that puny wage increases are inevitable, and that we should all merely shrug and get used to the country’s diminished expectations?" the Journal writes. " … the first quarter of 2016 was further evidence of what has been the weakest economic expansion in the postwar era. … All of this continues the slow-or-slower pace of this entire expansion that began nearly seven years ago. Each year has had a similar GDP dip, and growth has never exceeded 2.5 percent (2010). The American economy hasn’t grown by more than 3 percent since 2005 (3.3 percent), the longest such stretch of malaise that we can find in the Bureau of Economic analysis tables going back to 1930. … Faster growth is possible, but it will take better policies.”

On the other hand, the labor market report of a week ago was chock full of good news, The Hill newspaper tells us. 

The U.S. economy added 255,000 jobs in July, well above economist expectations, and the unemployment rate held at 4.9 percent for the second straight month.

Since early 2010, the economy has added 15 million jobs, rebounding from heavy losses during the recession. And economists expect the economy to hit full employment by the end of the year for the first time since late 2007, before the recession started. 

Participation in the labor market also ticked up, according to the report, and wages for private sector workers have increased about 3 percent so far this year. On average, the economy has added 190,000 new jobs per month over the last three months.

Douglas Holtz-Eakin, president of the conservative American Action Forum, said the report is the “first month in recent memory that doesn’t have some significant downside.”

But not so fast. The good news is very recent. Data on overall economic growth of the U.S. economy has not been as bright. The nation’s economy grew just 1.2 percent in the second quarter of the year, and 0.8 percent in the first three months of the year.

Don't forget the national debt. It hit $19.5 trillion for the first time ever during the week just ending, a little more than seven months after it hit the $19 trillion mark. When President Obama took office in early 2009, the total debt was $10.63 trillion. All on his watch.
Obama recently discussed with The New York Times the economy and his administration’s economic legacy, which, depending on who you ask, is a tremendous success story or a complete disaster.

Today, the overwhelming majority of economists agree that the stimulus rescued the nosediving economy and prevented another great depression — and most believe that an even bigger package would have hastened the recovery.

Selling the stimulus was never going to be easy for Obama. As Michael Grunwald explains in his book, “The New New Deal: The Hidden Story of Change in the Obama Era”:

“The stimulus had one overriding public relations problem: The administration marketed it as a measure to prevent rampant unemployment — and then rampant unemployment happened anyway. Americans understood that Obama inherited a mess, but they didn’t understand how horrible a mess, and the stimulus was touted as a job creator at a time when jobs were disappearing at record speed.”

In his new polemic, “Listen Liberal: What Ever Happened to the Party of the People,” Thomas Frank explores how the Obama administration could have done much more in terms of economic reform, and how it essentially squandered the once-in-a-century opportunity with the economic crisis:

“It would have been massively popular had Obama swung the wheel of the ocean liner and reacted to the financial crisis in a more aggressive and appropriate way. Everyone admits this at least tacitly, even the architects of Obama’s bailout policies, who like to think of themselves as having resisted the public’s mindless baying for banker blood. Acting aggressively might also have countered the sham populism of the Tea Party movement and prevented Republican reconquista of Congress…Obama could have questioned or even unwound Bush’s bailouts; he could have fired the bad regulators who let it all happen; he could have stopped the AIG bonuses instead of having his team go on television to defend them; he could have bushed to allow bankruptcy judges to modify mortgages; he could have put the 'zombie banks' into receivership; he could have shifted FBI agents back to white-collar crime; and so on. Obama did none of it.”

But we'll leave it to you. You can answer the question:



From your perspective, has the nation’s economic condition gotten better or worse since 2008?


Some facts, let's not forget that the biggest determiner of debt and/or growth begins and ends with the budget for this country. The responsibility for that falls directly on Congress, which hasn't passed one in forever, just short term spending bills loaded with partisan bs. Next someone brought up wage growth, that has been declining in epic proportions over the last 30 years. Fair tax code reformations have been consistently blocked by Congress every time anything outside a partisan spending or targeted tax cut plan is proposed. Next lets discuss the prevailing economic theme that the decades old, rebranded "trickle down economics", which most economists have agreed does very little for growth and has been one of, if the not the largest economic failure of the last 40 years. It does the least for wage growth and actually is the biggest contributor to income disparity in the 20th century. Next, eight years ago, we were paying $4 a gallon for gas, unemployment was at 11-15%, economic markets hit historic lows, jobs were lost 100 times faster than growth, and we were in 2 wars. I remember this well, yet most have already forgotten this...Lastly, the president is not black, he is bi-racial. Trump has declared bankruptcy 6 times, been bailed out by his papa 4 times, been morally and fiscally corrupt his whole life, yet somehow people believe that he can get it right for America...beyond belief...classic.

To paraphrase Reagan, "are we better off today than we were 8 years ago'? Absolutely not. Had Bush's advice not to abandon a stabilizing force in Iraq been heeded, the resurrection of "JV" ISIS would not have taken root. The phony 'line in the sand' ultimatum that wasn't, Russia's unchecked adventurism, the provocative and dangerous fly bys that were gone unanswered only embolden our adversaries and encouraged them to poke Uncle Sam in the eye and laugh at our ineptitude. Domestically, is this merely a rhetoric question? I not only was not able to keep my medical plan, but all my Doctors remained 'in-network'. Nor did I see any of the promised $2500 reduction in premium, rather the premiums have gone up and for less coverage. Investing tax payer funding for solar energy companies the were defunct. Roll back the over-regulation of business and let the private sector provide the solutions, not government, With the depleted Social Security lock-box, opening up benefits to illegal aliens as the 'Boomers' look forward to a financially shaky system is malfeasance. Contentment with anemic GDP growth underscores why his lack of leadership has marginalized our standing in the world. I could go on and on.

Obama is out to help anyone that is NOT an American... why?

Obama destroyed the economy. No raises for Social Security and the health insurance system ruined by his namesake Obamacare. Scared to death of foreign countries. Interest rates in the tank and he's never had a budget. So I'm counting the days until this big spender is gone and I sure as hell am not voting for the Murderess Hilary.

Sure its all Obama's fault....Lets review thd facts........ in 2000 Clinton economics got Buxh a $250b surplus that if kept the same policies would have paid off the national debt by now........ But no under Bush and republican policies in just 8 yrs managed to turn that surplus into a huge $1.1T deficit!!!....... Thus proving beyond any doubt republican policies ard morally and fiscally bankrupt is the fact........Not just a deficit so dam high but Obama was given 800k jobs lost a month economy falling faster than any before taking the world into a depression....... And after the miracle Obama pulled off gettihg us out of that hole and the economy was recovering, republicans started self inflecting wounds like not passing a budget, refusing to pay the debt, threaten to shut the government down every fall the next 5 yrs......... Obama wanted to pass the grand bargain and on to tax reform in 2010, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, but repubs refused. And that is why they economy hasn't recoveted as well or fast as it should have......... And republicans should be ashamed of doing that to our country................Instead they say it is all Obama's fault. Sadly a lot of it is they can't stand a black man did so much better than they did. Thankfully you all are dying off

"Sadly a lot of it is they can't stand a black man did so much better than they did. Thankfully you all are dying off" Interesting playing the race card while also implying that you want to see "you all die off" I wonder what this could be referring. At first I was going to refute stuff you said because it's blind, but an emotional post deserves an emotional response. Obama is a big part of rising racial tensions in this country. That's something he needs to be held responsible for and you are a prime example. Meanwhile Republicans have already stood up against the party establishment and Bush's legacy by voting for Trump. Bush was an amnesty corporate shill anyway which is why we rejected Jeb and put Cruz and Trump ahead of him in the primaries.

Some economy with interest rates in the cellar and not much prospect of rising. The "recovery" seems selective; certainly no rising tide lifting all ships here in Martin County. Government growth continues unchecked. The public, health and retail trade sectors dominate the economic picture. Where is manufacturing? What happened to wage growth? I think young citizens looking for jobs have gotten a bad deal under Obama. All they earned is student debt under highly inflated public education tuition charges vis-à-vis 30 years ago when you could work your way through college.

Wages cut in half, have had to work Walmart, and laundromat during off times, take early retirement because boss didn't want to pay my insurance anymore... so I got onto medicare... and still now only getting 2 days a week not 5.. and this is our busy season.. You only count as unemployed while you are collecting benefits.. when they run out.. you are no longer considered unemployed??????? Nice huh......... Vote Trump... please..

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