By Brett Arends – MarketWatch
I had thought we’d wait until Jan. 20 to draw the line under the “Obama economy.”
But seeing as Trumpists are already claiming credit for good economic news since the election, such as the rise in the stock market, I guess we can do it now.
And the picture is pretty clear.
That “terrible” Obama economy? That picture of U.S. economic and industrial decline? That image of malaise and an economy that is no longer “great” and “doesn’t win anymore” and “doesn’t make anything anymore”?
It’s total nonsense.
There’s no point in trying to have a rational argument — or even talking facts — to angry people who shout “libtard!” at their opponents and cite Infowars or Sean Hannity as sources.
But for all those who didn’t vote for Trump — and that’s about 70% of adult U.S. citizens when considering the eligible population — here are the facts. I’ve compared the third quarter of 2008 — just before Obama’s election — with the third quarter of 2016. (I’ve included links to the data, although Trump’s tinfoil army, most of whom wouldn’t know an actual source if it hit them over the head, will just cry conspiracy theory, as usual.)
|The Obama Economy|
|Third-quarter 2008||Third-quarter 2016||Verdict|
|Gross domestic product (2009 dollars)||$14.892 trillion||$16.713 trillion||Up 12%|
|30-year mortgage loan rate||6.46%||3.54%||Nearly halved|
|Nonfarm payrolls||136.3 million||145.0 million||Up 8.7 million|
|Uninsured (health)||45 million||27 million||Down 18 million|
|Exports (2009 dollars)||$1.766 trillion||$2.163 trillion||Up 22%|
|Un- and under-employed rate (U6)||11.8%||9.5%||Down 20%|
|Median household income||$50,303||$57,929||Up 15%|
|Manufacturing output per worker (2009 dollars)||$382,977||$436,776||Up 14%|
|Dow Jones Industrial Average||9,319||18,332||Nearly doubled|
Not bad. Especially as we were just plunging into the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.
Of course, this isn’t all about the president (or Congress, for that matter). Growth mainly comes from the private sector — from entrepreneurs and workers. But presidents and governments play a role. They can foster an environment in which growth occurs. Or they can screw things up. If people blame President Obama for bad economic news, then they do really need to give him some credit for the good.
I’ll confess: When I first ran these numbers, I was surprised. I hadn’t realized they would be this positive. I guess I’ve been listening to the doom-and-gloom merchants too much.
But here’s a prediction: At the first sign of trouble next year, President Trump and his cheerleaders, like Hannity, Rush Limbaugh and Alex Jones, will say it’s the fault of that “terrible” Obama economy that he inherited.