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Sunday, February 18, 2018

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Obama has been terrible for the economy


As the general election draws closer, it’s apparent that the economic problems present in the beginning days of President Barack Obama’s administration are still here.

There seems to be a growing sentiment among some people across the nation that the economy is revitalized, and, in fact, Obama has a key role in that. Yet, when you look at the data (and this month’s job numbers), the economy is not doing better.

False accomplishments

Now, it is wise to point out that he is not overtly responsible for the economy; the president, in reality, does not have that much power over it. Yet, he consistently takes credit for the economy and its shifts. Like in any other outlet, if you take the credit you’re going to get the blame.

Along with that, he sets budgets and continuously advocates for policies that have been shown as ineffective.

Let’s start with the job numbers. Obama claims that he has helped to create 14 million jobs during his presidency. Now, while this number is not incorrect, it fails to reflect reality.

Obama is referring to the gross job creation, which is, the amount of jobs created rather the net job creation. The latter is the number of jobs lost subtracted from the amount of jobs created. Surprisingly (or, if you’re a true Texan, unsurprisingly), the majority of the positive job growth in Obama’s administration has come from Texas.

There has also been the continuation of a dismal labor force participation rate.

Obama started his presidency with a labor force participation rate of 65.7 percent in January 2009 — his inaugural month. While the rate then was, in large part, due to the recession, it does not excuse the labor force participation rates for the rest of his presidency.

The current labor force participation rate is a dismal 62.8 percent. The last time that number was seen was when Jimmy Carter was in office. Again, Obama can keep preaching that there has been economic progress, but there has only been regression.

Another number Obama loves to trumpet is the unemployment rate. As of August, the unemployment rate was 4.9 percent. Not too shabby, but again not the full picture.

First off, the unemployment rate when Obama was sworn in was 7.8 percent. It then hit 10 percent in October 2009 and stayed stagnant for most of 2010. Of course, Obama loved to blame Bush during that time. Condemn your predecessor all you want, but after a year and a half of being in office you have to start taking the blame.

Along with that, the U6 numbers are still hovering in double digits. Yes, job numbers have gotten better, but not by much, and not in a significant way when you consider the labor force participation rate.

Still broken, still needs fixing

Under Obama, GDP has slowed significantly and has stayed that way for his entire term. Since 1790, every president has had a least one year of 3 percent annualized GDP growth.

Obama has never seen a year of 3 percent growth and has struggled to get the annual GDP above 2.5 percent. That’s odd for someone who says the economy has improved vastly under his tenure.

The first quarter of 2016 saw a 0.6 percent reduction in the GDP from 1.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2016, and then returned to a meager 1.1 percent last quarter (all number adjusted seasonally and for inflation).

This is laughable — even the much maligned Bush presidency had a year above 3 percent annual growth.

The economy has stagnated.

If those statistics weren’t enough, here are some other things that have gotten worse under Obama’s presidency. The poverty line is up 3.5 percent, real median household income has gone down, there are now more Americans on food stamps, home ownership is is down, the national debt has grown more than under any other presidency, and the number of households with unemployed persons has gone up.

The U.S. should be a bastion of the free market and economic growth, which helps lead the world toward a brighter future. While no president’s economic record is perfect, it’s time to stop pretending like Obama has fixed everything.

Delusion does not make things better.

Opinion columnist Jorden Smith is a political science junior and president of the College Republicans. He can be reached at [email protected]

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