On the econ­omy give Obama a D

The re­cov­ery is a bust and the fed­eral debt has soared

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary - By Stephen Moore

Hil­lary Clin­ton got the laugh line of the week when she said that Pres­i­dent Obama de­serves “an A” for his eco­nomic per­for­mance. Oh, wait. she wasn’t jok­ing.

Talk about grade in­fla­tion. Not many Amer­i­cans agree with Hil­lary’s char­i­ta­ble as­sess­ment. We just had a re­port of 1.5 per­cent growth in the last quar­ter. Ev­ery poll for five years shows that vot­ers are most con­cerned about jobs, fall­ing in­comes, and the debt. (Cli­mate change al­ways ranks last or near last, by the way.) Any­where be­tween 40 and 70 per­cent of Amer­i­cans, de­pend­ing on the poll, say that the United States is still in a re­ces­sion six and a half years into the Obama pres­i­dency.

To be sure, there have been some suc­cesses. We fi­nally got a good jobs re­port on Fri­day and job growth has been steady — but slow. In­fla­tion is tame. And most im­pres­sive: the stock mar­ket has been on a tear since Obama en­tered of­fice.

But the ar­eas where things have gone off the tracks far out­weigh the good news. So here’s a real re­port card on the Obama econ­omy: 1. Eco­nomic growth: Ane­mic This re­cov­ery is a bust. The growth rate of 2 per­cent un­der Mr. Obama’s re­cov­ery com­pares to nearly 4 per­cent for Rea­gan and 3.5 per­cent for a nor­mal re­cov­ery. This means we have $2 tril­lion less GDP to­day than we would if Obama’s per­for­mance had been av­er­age — i.e. a C grade — and $3 tril­lion be­hind the Rea­gan re­cov­ery — an A grade. If Mr. Obama had done as well as Mr. Rea­gan, we would have $24,000 higher an­nual out­put per house­hold this year.

2. Col­lege and Health Costs: Sky­rock­et­ing

Mr. Obama promised to lower health costs by $2,500 per fam­ily. Oops. This year we have learned that many states are re­port­ing in­sur­ance pre­mium in­creases of 10, 20, and even 30 per­cent. Over the past decade, med­i­cal costs are up sig­nif­i­cantly.

Univer­sity tu­ition costs are also surg­ing de­spite Obama cam­paign pledges to make col­lege more af­ford­able. Com­pared to the 2008-2009 school year, tu­ition and fees at pub­lic 4-year col­leges in 2014-2015 in­creased by about 37 per­cent. Mean­while, tu­ition and fees at 4-year pri­vate non­profit uni­ver­si­ties in­creased by about 26 per­cent to $31,000 a year. The more Mr. Obama throws at higher ed­u­ca­tion, the more they raise their costs.

3. Real Un­em­ploy­ment Rate in Amer­ica: 10 per­cent

The low un­em­ploy­ment rate of 5.1 per­cent that Mr. Obama boasts of is a sta­tis­ti­cal trick. The real rate of un­em­ploy­ment un­der Mr. Obama is al­most twice as high. When count­ing un­der­em­ployed part timers and those work­ing age Amer­i­cans who have dropped out of the la­bor force — mostly be­cause they can’t find a job — is close to 10 per­cent. There are now more than 90 mil­lion Amer­i­cans over the age of 16 that are not work­ing — an all-time record high. 4. Take Home Pay: Fall­ing Since Pres­i­dent Obama took of­fice, real house­hold in­come has fallen $1,748 (from Jan­uary 2009 through June of this year). This rep­re­sents a 3.1 per­cent de­cline in take-home pay. Real me­dian weekly earn­ings have stag­nated too. Since the fourth quar­ter of 2008 through the first half of 2015, me­dian usual weekly earn­ings have been flat. Amer­i­cans have not had a pay raise in al­most 10 years. 5. In­come Gaps Ris­ing The big­gest in­come de­clines un­der the Obama pres­i­dency have been recorded by women, His­pan­ics, blacks, and young work­ers — the very groups he promised to help. Ac­cord­ing to Sen­tier Re­search, sin­gle women saw their in­comes fall by roughly 5 per­cent in the five years fol­low­ing the end of the Great Re­ces­sion in 2009. Those age 25-34 ex­pe­ri­enced an in­come de­cline of 4.4 per­cent. Black heads of house­holds saw their in­come tum­ble by 7.7 per­cent, while His­panic heads-of-house­holds’ in­come fell 5.6 per­cent. Th­ese in­come de­clines don’t even in­clude the huge hit that fam­i­lies took dur­ing the 2008-09 re­ces­sion.

6. Na­tional Debt: Now Tops $220,000 Per Fam­ily.

Pres­i­dent Obama’s first act was an $830 bil­lion spend­ing “stim­u­lus plan.” The idea was that bor­row­ing would make us richer. As a con­se­quence, dur­ing Mr. Obama’s ten­ure, the na­tional debt has soared more than $7.5 tril­lion to sur­pass $18.0 tril­lion in to­tal and the new bud­get deal means that by the time he leaves of­fice the debt will have nearly dou­bled. The fed­eral debt has now hit more than $220,000 per house­hold in fed­eral debt — which is like a sec­ond mort­gage. 7. Taxes: Up Pres­i­dent Obama has raised taxes on in­vest­ment in­come, dead peo­ple, med­i­cal de­vice man­u­fac­tur­ers, health in­sur­ance poli­cies, smok­ers and hos­pi­tals — to name a few. Fur­ther, Oba­macare’s “in­di­vid­ual man­date” amounts to a mas­sive tax hike on the mid­dle class. Mr. Obama has raised in­vest­ment taxes by al­most 60 per­cent from 15 per­cent to 23.8 per­cent and th­ese levies have made Amer­ica un­com­pet­i­tive and re­duced busi­ness in­vest­ment and hir­ing. The United States now has the high­est busi­ness tax in the world and busi­nesses are flee­ing off­shore and tak­ing jobs with them.

8. Cost of Gov­ern­ment Reg­u­la­tions: Up

Pres­i­dent Obama has greatly sur­passed his pre­de­ces­sors in the is­suance of costly gov­ern­ment reg­u­la­tions. New reg­u­la­tions on power plants, fuel stan­dards, fi­nance, and health­care raise costs on con­sumers while sti­fling in­dus­try. In 2015 Mr. Obama put new reg­u­la­tions on coal and nat­u­ral gas pro­duc­tion and the Her­itage foun­da­tion es­ti­mates th­ese rules alone will cost the econ­omy nearly 600,000 jobs and the av­er­age mid­dle class fam­ily of four will lose $1,200 in an­nual in­come. The Com­pet­i­tive En­ter­prise In­sti­tute now es­ti­mates that reg­u­la­tions cost Amer­i­can con­sumers an all­time high $2 tril­lion a year. This is more than the $1.7 in cor­po­rate and in­di­vid­ual in­come taxes col­lected last year.

Hil­lary whined that the me­dia doesn’t give Obama “enough credit” on the econ­omy. If Mr. Obama really wants to take the “credit” for this econ­omy — he can own it. Stephen Moore is an eco­nomic con­sul­tant with Free­dom Works and a Fox News con­trib­u­tor.

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