Does anyone remember President Obama’s chimerical economic indicator of “jobs saved”? You don’t hear very much about it now. At the time, it was used as an empirical measure of job growth during his Presidency. I only mention it here, since over the past several months the former President has inserted himself into the conversation surrounding the Trump economy, as somehow being a continuation of his own neo-Keynesian efforts. This despite the glaring reality, that during Hillary Clinton’s failed bid for the Presidency in 2016, she and many other Democrats ran away from the Obama economy as far as possible. It was an extremely loud silence by Hillary and others to distance themselves from the general stasis that typified the Obama years. To employ one of Obama’s widespread quotes, he, Obama, really didn’t build it.
In retrospect, Obama’s stimulus package of $830 billion or the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), didn’t do much for the economy. However, it was a boom for the teachers’ unions, AFSCME and SEIU constituencies, his administration’s favorite environmental schemes and foundations, along with a menagerie of another Progressive left of center projects. In short, the ARRA was protectionist legislation at its finest. The stimulus monies were about as effective as many of President Johnson’s Great Society Programs. That is to say, a cost-benefit analysis of the Great Society Programs indicates they were a “marginal corrective” in addressing the War on Poverty and seeking equity for Black Americans. The result of its 6 trillion-dollar price tag, helped some, but mostly it began a “generational dependency culture” that still grips far too many in the American underclass.
Now, we can give Obama credit for improving the economy after the last two years of the Bush Administration, especially in the area of employment and a slight uptick in the GDP. It can also be added that many of the most pedestrian economic measures under Obama did improve, but leveled off quickly at the start of his administration. This led to what many real-world economists measured as the slowest economic recovery since the Great Depression. The GDP never got above 3 % during the Obama years.
Once again, on Obama’s watch, the economy did sputter back into some fiscal growth. If you remember the global financial meltdown and the subsequent recession, coupled with the last two years of Georg W. Bush, weighed heavily on the economy. Equally true, the recession preceding Obama was largely due to easy money pumped out by the Federal Reserve, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and a host of private banks lending to applicants who should have never been given housing loans. To paraphrase one political economist, the mortgage-for-anyone-with-a pulse insanity, gestated during the Clinton years via the Community Reinvestment Act, ignited the flame that overtook the economy in the last two years of the Bush administration. Exasperating this was Bush and the Democratically controlled House applying extremely non-Republican solutions such as massive spending, as well as selective corporate rescues. However, it bears repeating. Economic growth throughout Obama’s eight years never acceded 3 %. In Trump’s short three years in office, the economic growth as measured in the GDP is approaching 4%.
In addition, the regulatory burden placed on key industries by Obama were simply job killers. His administration unrestraint attack of the coal and oil industry assured limited fiscal vitality. Concurrently, Obama with help of the Congress, under both the Democrats and Republicans, contributed more to the national debt than any other administration in our history. When Obama took office in 2008, the debt stood at 10.6 trillion. It was 19.9 trillion on his departure. This effectively crippled any possible gain or real growth in the GDP.
It should be noted as of January 2020, Trump added more than 1,017, 100 “blue-color-jobs” to the economy. This was in addition to the 6 million jobs in just the first three years of his tenure. Let’s also remember, that early in the Trump administration, the former President was very terse in his talking points that these blue-collar jobs were never going to return.
Trump’s unemployment numbers in only his first three years stand at 3.6%. During the Obama years, unemployment never got lower than 4.6%. Even the 4.6% during the Obama years was largely achieved by people giving up looking for work and subsequently were no longer tallied in official gov’t unemployment figures.
However, to be fair, both Congressional Democrats and Republicans were partly responsible for this economic malaise, by political gamesmanship that never had the American people’s interests as their first priority. The political-class, both Democrat and Republican, on any given day during the Obama administration, prioritized their electoral survival over any substantial benefits for the American people.
Another salient feature of Trump’s short time in office has been the growth in middle-class incomes. Despite getting little assistance from Congressional Democrats, who have been busy with their Russia-Russia-Ukrainian-back-to-Russia political choreography.[i] Trump’s business-centered economy has risen middle-class income to over $5000 per year. During the eight years of Obama, middle-class wages never got above $1200. This surge in real income was occurring at precisely the time, when many liberal economists, the MSM, as well as the former President himself were touting or more accurately “cheering” for a recession.
Trump’s tax reforms, business deregulations, trade and energy policies have benefited both the working-class as well as the wealthy.
Unfortunately, Obama catechumenates seem to forget that despite their demonization of the rich, whether it be Trump or even Mike Bloomberg, it is not their money in the first place. Despite what we might think concerning the wealthy members of our society, it is they and their entrepreneurial mind-set that routinely benefits us all.
If the truth is told, what Liberal Progressives and many in the political class including the ex-president mistakenly identified as “income inequality” is more aligned with “outcome inequality”. However, the later does not lend itself to the pandering and “blame-game strategies” politicians routinely leverage to keep themselves in office.
But I get it. Our ex-president will never understand real achievement since he was awarded the Nobel Prize less than two months into his Presidency for, well……. I’ve never been quite sure.
Oh, wait a minute! Now, I remember. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for being Black. No, that’s not exactly right either; he’s actually multi-racial. I guess one could say that Obama was the nation’s first Participant Trophy President.
[i] As of the writing of this article, the MSM and the Democrats have been busy with their latest project to undermine the Trump administration with political prattle surreptitiously blaming Trump for not responding fast enough to the Coronavirus. They are running the same playbook that was successful for them during the George W. Bush Presidency. Shamelessly, they will try to “Katrina” Trump.