By Tom Quiner
The meme above frequently pops up in Facebook posts by Obama loyalists.
Produced by a Facebook page called ‘Occupy Democrats,’ it attempts to make the case that the Obama presidency was a godsend to this country. The data suggests otherwise.
Best job growth in 18 years? Actually, no. The jobs growth rate is about the same as when Obama took office. It plummeted during his first two years in office, and began growing again when the economy began to shake off the brutal recession he inherited.
Today, we have 117 million full-time workers in our economy compared to 118 million when he took office, a net loss of one million jobs, despite the fact that we have 25 million more people living in this country. That sounds like stagnation to me.
Strongest dollar in three decades. Not quite, but the ‘nominal trade-weighted exchange value of the U.S. dollar’ is the strongest since Obama took office, according to the Federal Reserve. Why? Because of Fed monetary policy, which lowered interest rates to unprecedented levels in an attempt to stimulate the economy following the Great Recession of 2008. Obama’s policies have little to do with it.
An obvious follow up question: is a strong dollar good? Yes and no. Here’s the no: it makes our goods cost more in other countries, reducing exports, increasing the trade gap, and costing us good jobs. As I mentioned above, we have one million fewer full-time jobs since Obama took office. You be the judge.
Gas heading to $2 a gallon. That is great! But does a president who opposes the Keystone pipeline and fracking and has limited drilling for oil reserves deserve the credit for lower gasoline prices at the pump? I don’t see how. Lower gas prices have happened in spite of Mr. Obama. Fracking deserves much of the credit.
Unemployment cut in half. Well, the unemployment rate is about where it was when Obama took office. After rising dramatically, it has come back down in recent years. But the number that is far more relevant is the labor participation rate, which reflects how many healthy adults are, or are not, in the labor force. It has dropped significantly since Obama took office, from 65.9% to 62.8%, as more and more Americans give up looking for work. The rate is at its lowest levels since the era of Jimmy Carter ‘malaise.’ Is that really a good thing?
Annual Bush deficit cut by two-thirds. I know you can say anything with statistics. I really do, because I know the tricks. But this is terribly misleading. When he took office, the national debt was $10.626 trillion. Today, it is $19.78 trillion. I ask again, is this really a good thing? I think we’d find it more palatable if we could point to tremendous job creation like we saw during the Reagan years, but as I mentioned before, we lost a million jobs under Obama’s watch.
The meme above concludes that you should ‘Share if you’re proud you voted for him twice!’
I hope the data above provides a glimpse at the other side of the coin. If your pride in Obama is based on his economic record as touted above, you might want to reconsider.