Friday, July 4, 2014

Obama and the Economy

With Congressional elections coming up it is time to see if President Obama deserves a Democratic majority in Congress so he can get some legislative help. One very good way to decide if a president has done well is to compare the state of the nation on the day he took office with today. For the economy, I'll do that now.

Just to be clear, I'm comparing the economy January 2009, when Obama took office, and 4 July 2014, right now.

In general the economy in 2009 was in free fall, in the middle of a full blown economic and financial crisis. It was the worst we've seen since 1929 and there were plenty of people that thought it would continue to go downhill. Today the economy is stable and growing. Improvement: vast. Some details follow.

The US economy was losing 750,000 jobs a month. Today it adds a few hundred thousand a month. Improvement: roughly 1,000,000 jobs/month.

The DOW was around 8,000. Today it is over 17,000. Improvement: more than double.

The S&P500 was well under 1,000. Today it is almost 2,000. Improvement: more than double.

Corporate profits were in a nose dive. Today they are near record levels. Corporate profits in 2009 were less than $700 billion. This year they are $1,900 billion. Improvement: $1,200 billion/year.

The government was on track to borrow $1,413 billion. This fiscal year the government is on track to borrow $649 billion. Improvement: $760 billion/year.

There is a whole TV network and a vast hinterland of commentators that will tell you everything Obama has done wrong: large or small, real or imagined, misleading or not. That's fine, but keep your eye on the big stuff, and these economic numbers are big stuff. There has been enormous improvement on Obama's watch, in the face of bitter knee-jerk Republican opposition.

The nation deserves a Democratic Congress to help President Obama out, so vote for your local Democratic congressperson. Who knows, some good stuff might even get done.