Wednesday, August 8, 2012

More On The 'Recovery' has this editorial about the so-called 'recovery' that I think is more great reading:

A core dispute in this presidential campaign is over how to evaluate President Obama's economic record. 
On the one hand, it's not fair to blame Obama for the slow growth in the first six months of his presidency, which was mostly a product of conditions he inherited.
I disagree with that premise, but let's read on.

On the other hand, it's not convincing for Obama to suggest — as he routinely does — that he should be evaluated on the basis of whether the recovery has been better than the recession. 
Recoveries, by definition, are better than recessions.
So rather than holding Obama responsible for a recession he inherited, or praising him simply because that recession didn't continue perpetually, the fairest measure of his economic stewardship is this one: 
How does the Obama recovery compare to other recoveries from similar downturns across the decades?
Okay, fair enough.  I'll buy that logic.  So how does it work out for Obama?
On that basis, the Obama recovery can only be graded as a tremendous failure — as it has produced the worst rate of economic growth of any recovery in the past 65 years. 
Over that span, we've had 10 previous recessions and 10 previous recoveries. According to the federal government's own Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), average real (inflation-adjusted) GDP growth in the first three years after those recessions was 4.6%. 
During the Obama recovery (which began three years ago, in July 2009), average real GDP growth has been just 2.2% — less than half the historical norm. Of the past 11 recoveries, the Obama recovery has been the worst.
And it's not getting any better, either.
The 10 stronger recoveries involved Presidents Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Clinton, and George W. Bush — in other words, every other postwar president. 
Some might suppose that this is because the 2008-09 recession was a particularly long and debilitating one. But the historical record shows that the pattern is generally as follows: the worse the recession, the stronger the recovery. 
Indeed, if we limit our comparison to the five longest recessions in the past 65 years (each of which lasted at least 11 months), we find the following: During the four pre-Obama recoveries from such recessions, average real GDP growth in the first three years was a whopping 5.9% — dwarfing the 2.2% figure under Obama.
Over the first two years of the Obama recovery, average real GDP growth was 2.2%. During the third year, it remained at 2.2%. So far in 2012, it has been 1.8% annualized. In the most recent quarter, it was 1.5% annualized. 
Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't that 'recovery' going in the wrong direction?
Moreover, these poor results are despite Obama's $787,000,000,000 "stimulus" — a remarkable explosion of deficit spending at the expense of future generations of Americans, who will have to pay that money back. 
If all of this weren't bad enough, the Obama recovery has also been a dismal failure in terms of employment. 
According to the BLS, the employment-population ratio — the percentage of Americans who are employed — was 59.4% during the last month of the recession (June 2009). That figure has now actually dropped to 58.4%. Three years into the "recovery," a lower percentage of Americans are employed than during the recession. 
In marked contrast, in the last four pre-Obama recoveries from recessions spanning at least 11 months, the average improvement in the employment-population ratio over the same span of time was 2.6 points — a swing of 3.6 points from Obama's tally of minus 1.0%. 
If 3.6% more Americans were employed today, that would amount to more than 10 million people.

So what's the bottom line?

For the better part of four years, Obama has spearheaded unprecedented levels of government spending, regulation, and control over Americans' lives. He has championed Obama-Care, unleashed the Environmental Protection Agency, promoted crony capitalism and adopted policies decidedly at odds with Main Street. 
The experiment has been tried, the evidence is in and the verdict is clear: This is by far the worst economic recovery in the past 6-1/2 decades.

And that is something Obama can't blame on anyone else.

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