Free Markets, Free People

How would you rate the Obama recovery?

Investors Business Daily saves you the trouble.  Of the past 10 recoveries since WWII, this recovery rates dead last.

For instance:

Employment: By this point, the average job growth in the past 10 recoveries was 6.9%. Under Obama, jobs have grown by just 1.9%, according to data from the Minneapolis Federal Reserve.

Had the current recovery kept pace with just the average recovery over the past 60 years, there would be 6.5 million more people with jobs today, and the unemployment rate would be below 7%, instead of above 8%. That assumes several million more Americans would have joined the workforce. If the current anemic labor force were unchanged, those 6.5 million jobs would drive unemployment to 4%.

Just as importantly:

GDP growth: The Obama recovery has also performed far worse than average when it comes to GDP growth. After 11 quarters, the economy is still only 6.8% bigger than it was when the recession ended. In contrast, GDP was 16% bigger, on average, by this point in the previous 10 recoveries, the Minneapolis Fed data show.

The current recovery is so slow, in fact, that it just barely beats GDP growth 11 quarters after the 1980 recession ended — even though there was the intervening long and painful 1981-82 recession. And unless GDP shoots up in Q2, the current recovery will soon be the absolute worst since the Great Depression.

Had the Obama recovery tracked the average GDP growth in the 10 previous recoveries, the economy would be almost $1.2 trillion bigger today.

Remember, we’re just talking average here.  If this recovery were a average recovery, we’d see the numbers IBD is talking about.  Instead, this recovery is well below average.  In fact, it defines the bottom.

Incomes: By the third year of the past five recoveries, real median household incomes climbed an average 2.8%, according to the Census Bureau, which only has household income data back to 1967.

But in the current recovery, real household incomes dropped 5.4% during the recovery, according to Sentier Research, which compiles a monthly household income index using Census data.

"Unlike previous recoveries, we actually saw household incomes drop faster during the recovery than they did during the recession itself," said Gordon Green, who co-founded Sentier.

Again, extraordinarily poor performance. 

And, to the claim that Obama has spent less than any other recent president (a laugher if ever there was one and factually wrong), lets examine the actual record on deficits and national debt:

Deficits: The current recovery also doesn’t stack up well when it comes to annual federal deficits. By this point in previous recoveries, deficits were running an average 2.2% of GDP. This year, they’re expected to be 7.6%, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

Here’s another way to look at it: If the deficit-to-GDP ratio matched the average of the previous recoveries, it would be around $341 billion, instead of $1.2 trillion.

National debt: Although Obama claims that he’s cleaning up after the "wild debts" Republicans ran up, the national debt has climbed much faster during Obama’s economic recovery than the typical recovery in the past.

On average, federal debt climbed 9.5% in the first three years of those recoveries, after adjusting for inflation. Under Obama, debt has climbed $4 trillion since the recovery started, a 28% increase in real terms.

Which brings us to the Obama excuses for this poor performance:

Obama routinely blames the deep recession. The problem is that, historically, the deeper the recession, the stronger the recovery has been.

Others have argued that recoveries from financial crises produce sluggish recoveries. However, a paper published by the Atlanta Fed concluded that U.S. history provides "no support" for linking the current mediocre recovery "with the financial crisis of 2007—2008."

And there are those who argue that the stimulus was insufficient. But that’s hard to believe, too, since spending has averaged more than 24% of GDP over the past three years, and deficits averaged 9.3% — higher levels than at any time since World War II.

Obama most recently has argued that Republicans are thwarting the recovery.

"We’ve got too many of my dear Republican friends in Congress that have been standing in the way of some steps that we could take that would make a difference at the moment," Obama said last week.

But Obama got everything he wanted in terms of economic policy his first two years in office, when he had solid Democratic majorities in the House and Senate, including a massive stimulus, Cash for Clunkers, mortgage aid, Wall Street reform, ObamaCare and so on.

The arguments simply have no factual support.  They’re political excuses; the usual attempt at blame shifting  for which this president is so famous.

In fact, his record in this recovery is abysmal.  Yet he’s asking for another 4 years, one assumes, to try to fix what he’s royally screwed up. 

These should be the facts and figures the Romney campaign uses constantly.  And with that, they should also point out the mess a President Romney will “inherit” from the current occupant of the White House.



Twitter: @McQandO

17 Responses to How would you rate the Obama recovery?

  • How would you rate the Obama recovery?

    The say-do-what…???

    • But the biggest problem for the president’s agenda isn’t the usual partisan gridlock — it’s an unexpected surge in cooperation on a series of less-than-sexy bills, such as a Food and Drug Administration authorization package and postal reform. Rather than taking their cues from the White House, Senators in both parties have been pushing other priorities to the top of Reid’s agenda — whether it be a farm bill, garden-variety appropriations or renewing the flood insurance program.

      This certainly deep-6-s the “Do Nothing Congress” meme

    • There is a recovery ?  I thought that happened two summers ago.

  • The bottom line on this “Panic of 2008” is that it was triggered by a build up of “toxic assets” (i.e. assets whose book value is questionable or non-existent due to fraud or market conditions) in the financial system.
    The “shiny object” fascination of AIG is a secondary domino to fall in the market, it is the Mortgage backed Securities that have clogged the financial system with assets that they don’t want to write-down (because in the mythical future they just might come back) and just won’t go away on their own.
    In their effort to deflect blame from themselves, the Congress has done everything possible to fix what ain’t broken, leaving most of those “toxic assets” there to fester.  In some cases, their attempts to mitigate have resulted in many matters worse.

  • This economic downturn is also the worst since WWII.
    And a significant difference with this downturn is the fact that since so much of our manufacturing has been off-shored, not even the time-tested policy of war doesn’t even extricate us from our economic woes.

    • And WHY is it the worst economy since THE GREAT FLUCKING DEPRESSION…???
      COULD it be that BOTH periods were dominated by the SAME ideology, and the SAME general FAILED ideas?
      What a moron.
      “The time-tested policy of war”.  My gawd, how stupid and gullible ARE you…???  How far back in history does that “policy” go, you boob!?!?!

    • “The problem is that, historically, the deeper the recession, the stronger the recovery has been.”
      Try reading the entire post.

  • And you wondered why they were spending so much time on “the war on women”, “Bain Capital”, “Romney’s dog”, etc, etc, etc,

    • It’s pretty clear to me that Obama is waiting for the SCOTUS to rule on ACA.  If by some luck the SCOTUS upholds ACA, then he will run on that part of his record.  But I expect the SCOTUS to strike down ACA, so I expect Obama to run a “War of Envy” campaign.
      All the “shiny objects’ currently before the media are there to fill the void.

  • Peggy Lee was prophetic in 1966 when she recorded “Hey Big Spender”

  • Ultimately, though, I [Barack Obama] believe any attempt by Democrats to pursue a more sharply partisan and ideological strategy misapprehends the moment we’re in. I am convinced that whenever we exaggerate or demonize, oversimplify or overstate our case, we lose. Whenever we dumb down the political debate, we lose. For it’s precisely the pursuit of ideological purity, the rigid orthodoxy and the sheer predictability of our current political debate, that keeps us from finding new ways to meet the challenges we face as a country.
    Doesn’t that sound as beautiful as a $2 whore.

  • It was intentional. The Stimulus was not meant to stimulate. It was a political payoff. Obamacare was sugar in the gas tank. Dodd-Frank was a blank check to regulators that they haven’t begun to fill out. Robert Higgs calls this “regime uncertainty.” It was a plan, and it came together. Forget that and you don’t know your enemy.

    • Dodd-Frank was ALSO apparently designed to hinder capital formation by new players, and institutionalize TBTF and future bail-outs via bureaucracy.