August 22, 2010
NYC Letter: The Obama Economy, Part VII
Day 578 of CHOPE
August 21, 2010 (The Hill) - President Obama this summer has repeatedly blamed George W. Bush for the nation’s economic woes, a year after he took ownership of the economy and criticized those who "carp and gripe."
The White House’s effort to tie congressional Republicans to Obama’s predecessor comes less than three months before the midterm elections. But the president’s campaign speeches this summer contrast to a speech he delivered in Michigan last year when his approval ratings were 17 points higher.
During a July 14, 2009, address in Warren, Mich., Obama said:Now, my administration has a job to do, as well, and that job is to get this economy back on its feet. That's my job. And it’s a job I gladly accept. I love these folks who helped get us in this mess and then suddenly say, "Well, this is Obama’s economy." That’s fine. Give it to me. My job is to solve problems, not to stand on the sidelines and carp and gripe.
At the time, the AP wrote, "With four simple words -- 'Give it to me' – President Barack Obama took possession of the economy."
Throughout this year, Obama has blamed Bush and the criticism has intensified this month.Eighteen months ago I took office after nearly a decade of economic policies that had given us sluggish growth, sluggish job growth, falling incomes, falling wages and a record deficit.
Breathtakingly brazen. You would be excused if you thought Mr. Obama was describing the Obama economy. This is Mr. Obama's narrative, which should not be confused with any actual facts. At least three of these gripes are readily refuted. [We roll up our sleeves.]
- Sluggish Growth: GDP averaged 2.0125% over Mr. Bush's two terms. Although there was zero growth in 2008, there was never a negative growth year during Mr. Bush's tenure. Last year GDP in Mr. Obama's economy was -2.6%. Currently annualized 2010 GDP is 2.4%.* The Obama economy growth average so far? -0.1%.
- Sluggish Job Growth: Unemployment averaged 5.27% for Mr. Bush's tenure. Last year unemployment in the Obama economy was 9.3%. Currently, unemployment in the Obama economy stands at 9.5%.** The Bush economy created a net 1,843,000 jobs. So far the Obama economy has lost a net 1,746,000 jobs.
- Record Deficit: This is a particularly disingenuous gripe. Mr. Obama piled on the debt his first year in office (and here). In 2009 he tripled the very deficit he complains of above. This was not some one-off, the latest proposed budget for the Obama economy adds $2 trillion more in spending and deficits over last year.
Mr. Obama, arguing against the facts, asks that you send an eternal succession of Democrat majorities to Congress so he can deliver more of the same. You are, Mr. Obama is confident, this stupid.
As Obama’s approval ratings have fallen though the year, more voters blame him for the state of the economy. A Rasmussen poll of 1,000 likely voters found that 48 percent blame Obama for the nation’s economic problems while 47 percent fault Bush.
Nearly six months ago, a similar Gallup poll reported that 42 percent of voters blamed Bush a “great deal” while only 26 percent said Obama deserved a great deal of blame.
Flare to Mr. Obama. The Bush economy is no more. The more Mr. Obama brings it up, the worse the wrack of the Obama economy looks.
Not the Bush economy. Something worse.
* J. P. Morgan is far less optimistic than the BEA:
"The June data released so far suggests Q2 GDP is tracking closer to a 1.3% annual rate of increase, well below the 2.4% in the initial release."
**Keith Hennesey further reports:
- The Administration’s projected annual average unemployment rates are: 2009 = 9.3%, 2010 = 9.7%, 2011 = 9.0%, 2012 = 8.1%. These average to 9.025%. Source: Office of Management and Budget, Mid-Session Review, Fiscal Year 2011, Table 2 on page 9.
- The same table shows projected annual average unemployment rates are: 2013 = 7.1%, 2014 = 6.3%, 2015 = 5.7%, 2013 = 5.3%. The eight-year average is 7.5625%. Source: Ibid.