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: