Just a few days ago Obama was bragging, “I saved the world economy from a great depression.”
The world did not go into a great depression but to give Obama the credit isn’t much different than giving him credit for saving the world from a global knockout meteor strike because it didn’t happen. It comes closer to the truth to say Obama is one of the worst presidents ever for the economy with average annual RGDP growth of only 1.55% for his presidency so far.
The rate of real economic growth is the single greatest determinate of both America’s strength as a nation and the well being of the American people. It’s almost impossible to list all the ills that befall a country with stagnant economic growth since they include such phenomena as the recent rise in suicides among white middle-age Americans. Poor job prospects leading to economic collapse hits especially hard on people who have reached middle age and don’t see much chance to recover. Going on welfare is a lousy choice for sustaining the pride and well being of those who have been self sustaining before losing everything.
Obama’s record in this area has been truly dismal.The much-hated George W. Bush did better although not by much with average RGDP of 2.05%. Obama is the first president in which economic growth was below 3% every single year of his presidency. Bush’s record showed 3% or better growth for two of his years in office, all the rest were below. At least Bush didn’t lie about the economy while he was president.
For a historical perspective consider this: From 1790 to 2000, U.S. RGDP growth averaged 3.79%, according to Louis Woodhill in the article from Real Clear Politics that is quoted below. We don’t have the number for Obama’s next three quarters but with a first quarter GDP growth of only 0.5% it’s hard to see the year ending up at 3% or above.
I don’t think Obama is bothered one bit by all this. Economic growth is not his thing. As a great “progressive” Obama’s idea of a good president is the one who can say he redistributed the most income from those who earned it to those who did nothing to produce it. His idea of a great country is one of crony capitalist billiionaires financing an ever expanding government, with bums and the misfortunate scrambling for crumbs, and the middle class barely eking out an existence.
It’s madness to believe that finding new ways to slice the economic pie is preferable to policies that allow the pie to grow bigger resulting in more for everyone without stealing from anyone.
So, it seems a bit surprising that Hillary Clinton would be running for president by promising the nation the equivalent of a third Obama term. However, in another way, it isn’t.
Hillary is a progressive. Progressives believe in “progressively” expanding the size, power, and reach of government. And, Obama has done more to further the progressive cause of anyone since FDR. So, yes, in that sense, it is completely authentic for Hillary to be promising “more Obama” if she wins.
With respect to the economy, both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are offering what amounts to “hospice care.” Their “tax the rich” redistributionist proposals are not intended to restore strong growth. They are designed to make the middle class more comfortable in the face of economic stagnation. “Hey, you may be unemployed after you graduate, but at least college was free!”
The only way that the voters will elect a Democrat as president in the fall is if the Republicans nominate someone that seems crazy and dangerous, or if they run on budget-cutting “austerity.” If confronted with a choice between hospice care and “surgery without anesthesia,” the electorate will opt for the hospice care, and try to survive until the next election.
Woodhill doesn’t say who he thinks is “crazy and dangerous” but I’d guess he means Donald Trump. So far Trump hasn’t inspired confidence of his economic understanding or what he would do to pave the way for a much needed economic recovery. In fact, he talks so much about imposing new tarriffs and raising taxes one has to think he’s sort of dunce on economic matters. Clearly, if a good economy with prosperity for all is your idea of happy days again, I believe Ted Cruz should be your guy.
Investors Business Daily runs through the list of Obama failures in the economy and end with this:
Delusional doesn’t begin to cut it.
Even Sorkin, who is clearly trying to help Obama burnish his economic legacy, notes out that Obama’s two biggest legislative achievements — ObamaCare and Dodd-Frank — hurt economic growth. He also pokes Obama for his green energy policies, noting that the heavily subsidized Florida battery factory where Obama recently gave a speech is 100% foreign owned and losing money.
More remarkable is the disdain for the public that Obama unintentionally reveals in the Times piece. Basically, he thinks that people can’t be trusted to form their own opinions about the economy based on their own experiences.
In that sense, Obama is like Chico in the Marx Brothers movie Duck Soup, who when caught red handed in a lie said: “Well, who you gonna believe, me or your own eyes?