Thursday, July 25, 2013

Hard Work

President Obama made another big speech where he claimed we need bipartisanship to solve our problems and the reason we don't get it is because the Republicans refuse to do everything he wants.  Or something like that.  Most of his speeches on the economy say the same thing.  He called any disagreements with him mere bickering, and said the Republicans secretly know he's right but are afraid to say so. (He also noted it was time to stop investigating him and his people over all those scandals--they're just distractions, after all.)

There was a time, of course, he didn't need the Republicans. In the first two years of his Presidency, he had complete control of the Congress and passed most of what he wanted, including the Stimulus, Obamacare, new banking regulations and the federal budgets.  So you'd expect us to start seeing the results by now.

I'd have to say they're not great.

Since WWII we've had a series of ups and downs, but Obama's years, for whatever reason, have been unusually bad.  The highest unemployment since the War--10.8%--occurred in December 1982 when Reagan was in office.  People were saying it was another Depression.  Whether due to Reagan's policies or not, in a year and a half unemployment dropped to 7.2%.  By the time Reagan handed the reins over to Bush 41, it was around 5%.

There was a recession late in Bush's term where unemployment reached as high as 7.8%.  Al Gore called it the worst economy since the Depression.  Unemployment dropped considerably from that high point, mostly during the Clinton years (which also featured the first Republican Congress in a couple generations), but the bubble burst when Bush 43 was elected and unemployment in his first term went as high as 6.3%. Nancy Pelosi called it the worst job creation since Hoover.

Unemployment was down to 4.4% in 2007 but then the economy cratered. By the time Obama was elected in November it was up to 6.8%. So the first thing he did was pass the Stimulus.  White House economists predicted this would hold down unemployment but by October 2009 it was up to 10%.  By November 2010 it was 9.8%.  It finally got below 9% in October 2011.  It finally got below 8% in October 2012.  It's now at 7.6%.

So under Reagan, unemployment droped from 10.8% to 7.2% in 18 months. Under Obama, unemployment dropped from 10% to 7.9% in three years.  And unemployment was never as high as 7.9% during all the years of both Bush 41 and 43.

This is the longest sustained high unemployment in the post-War era.  The response of the President's supporters? "Imagine how much worse it would have been without Obama!" You have to have a good imagination, since they're asking us to imagine the economy being worse than what's already the worst we've lived through.

President Obama now says we're not solving our problems due to gridlock. Many agree.  But I think a little more gridlock in the past would have served us well.  And perhaps more is called for in the future.


Anonymous Anonymous said...


3:04 AM, July 25, 2013  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

With your fingers in both ears, it's hard to hit the caps key, I suppose.

4:03 AM, July 25, 2013  
Anonymous Denver Guy said...

Excellent summation. I'm saving this for future quick reference.

5:26 AM, July 25, 2013  
Blogger LAGuy said...

The summary may be a bit one-sided, but there's no denying the economy has performed poorly under President Obama. His supporters have to come up with excuses to explain it, such as the one I noted--that somehow things would have been worse than the worst ever without President Obama. Other popular excuses: 1) the economy was so screwed up there was no way to save it (unlike all those other screwed up economic times when they claimed things were unbelievably bad and yet somehow got better faster), 2) times are different so we can't solve our problems so easily (though they didn't give Bush a pass in his first term for the times being different) and 3) the Republicans are blocking the reform that will solve the problem (though Obama had two years to pass whatever he wanted, and other Presidents such as Reagan and Clinton didn't always have a Congress that was the same party).

I wasn't planning on writing about the economy, but the speech was so annoying (and long--this is a President who loves the sound of his voice), filled with such vague promises, tiresome cliches, uselss solutions and cheap attacks that I felt I should write something.

9:25 AM, July 25, 2013  

Post a Comment

<< Home

web page hit counter