An Indictment of Barack Obama’s Economic Record – Daniel J. Mitchell – Townhall Finance Conservative Columnists and Financial Commentary
March 20, 2012
In a recent post comparing Reaganomics and Obamanomics, I explained why I think Barack Obama’s policies have been hurting the economy.
In today’s New York Post, I do a full-scale indictment. Here are my bullet points.
* The unemployment rate is still above 8 percent, even though the White House promised it would drop to about 6 percent today if the stimulus was enacted.
* Several million fewer Americans have jobs today than five years ago.
* The poverty rate has jumped to more than 15 percent, with a record number of Americans living below the poverty level of income.
* According to the most recent data, median household income is lower than when the recession began.
* The burden of government spending remains high, and record levels of red ink are a symptom of that bloat in Washington.
* The threat of higher taxes is omnipresent, serving as a Sword of Damocles over the economy’s neck
* Continued weakness in the housing and financial sectors reminds people that bailouts and intervention have left lots of problems unsolved.
I also explain that some of the recent good news is in spite of the President’s statist policies.
* The recovery began just as Obama’s stimulus spending ended, thus confirming suspicions that lots of money was wasted as part of a process that hindered the economy’s growth.
* The job numbers only began to improve at the end of 2010, right as Republicans took control of the House and presumably ended Obama’s ability to further shift the nation’s course.
The final point is one deserving of elaboration. People in the private sector necessarily have to make educated guesses about the future economic environment. With this in mind, I think it’s quite reasonable – as I commented last month – to argue that the GOP takeover on Capitol Hill boosted the economy since entrepreneurs could feel more comfortable that the federal government wasn’t going to be imposing additional burdens.
This indictment of Obama’s dismal economic track record does not suggest, I should hasten to add, that Mitt Romney or Rick Santorum would be any better. Both of them seem closer to Bush than Reagan, so it’s not clear they would make any substantive changes in the burden of the federal government.
But I feel the need to rise to the defense of Rutherford B. Hayes, who was mocked recently by the current President. This Mark Steyn column is a deliciously vicious commentary on Obama’s speech, so no need for me to delve into the details.
Instead, I want to jump on the bandwagon and produce some posters comparing the 19th President and the 44th President (if you’re not aware, posters of Pres. Hayes with self-created captions have been all over the Internet).
You won’t be surprised to learn that I’m focused on the policy differences between Hayes and Obama.
Most important, Hayes largely was true to the Founding Fathers’ vision of a limited central government. Government spending averaged only about 6 percent of economic output during his tenure (probably less, the data are not very robust, so I took the worst-case numbers) and America was blessedly free of the income tax.
So which President would you prefer, Hayes or Obama?