Imagine if, on January 20, 2009, one half second before Barack Obama completed the oath of office to become President of the United States, that Dick Cheney pushed an innocent bystander off the top of the Empire State Building.
Could the GOP really argue during the present campaign that it would be the new president’s fault when the victim splattered on the ground?
That’s how dumb you have to be to buy the line Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are peddling: that President Obama and the Democrats are responsible for all 23 million out-of-work Americans and the millions of families on food stamps. (It’s odd to hear Romney even mention these “moochers” and their children. Aren’t they part of the 47% he disdains? Let ‘em go look in the dumpsters for stale donuts if they’re hungry, right, because we can’t raise taxes on billionaires, oh no, and once they have heart attacks in their apartments load ‘em up in ambulances and rush the poor schmucks to the emergency room and then maybe we can save them. Ah, but who cares, if we don’t? They won’t vote for you anyway. Isn’t that what you said?)
Really, who gets credit for all those millions of unemployed and the fact that the economy hasn’t totally recovered?
The obvious comparison when it comes to unemployment would be President Ronald Reagan and President Obama. This isn’t even hard to understand, right wing types. Oh, we know, many of you think that Mitt Romney actually killed Osama bin Laden. But for this all you need to do is look at a graph.
Ten days before your hero, St. Ronald of Tampico, took office, in February 1981, the unemployment rate was 7.4%. You probably remember that the economy was in terrible shape and that you blamed it on Jimmy Carter.
Job losses soared after Mr. Reagan took control and the unemployment rate peaked at 10.8% in November 1982. In fact, it took Reagan his entire first term to reduce unemployment, so that by January 1985, the rate had fallen only to 7.3%, a stunning “recovery” of one tenth (0.1) of one percentage point in four years.
That’s right. The Gipper cut unemployment by 0.1 percentage point.
In four flippin’ years.
Fast forward to January 2008, when the U. S. economy still appeared healthy and unemployment stood at 5%. Then the crash began — on President George W. Bush’s watch — and by February 2009, ten days after Obama took the oath, the rate had soared to 8.3%. The housing market was collapsing, the stock market had tanked, the auto industry was on life-support, and the ranks of those on food stamps were already ballooning.
Still, the victim had several more stories to fall. In October he finally slammed to the ground and the unemployment rate topped out at 10%.
Since then, the rate has declined slowly but surely, exactly the same way it did in 1982. The rate is now 7.8%, still high, but down half a percentage point (0.5) since President Obama took over. Yep, you read that right, right-wing haters. The guy you call a communist is beating out the dude whose face you want to chisel onto Mt. Rushmore.
When the U. S. economy finally began to recover in June 2009, nearly 600,000 people were filing new unemployment claims monthly. That rate fell last week to 339,000, the lowest figure in four-and-a-half years.
So let’s be clear. The stock market crashed when Mr. Bush was ensconced in the Oval Office. And trillions of dollars of private wealth were wiped from the books. The market bottomed out at 6,547 early in 2009. Today stocks have rebounded nicely, closing out last week at 13,329. Obama hasn’t wrecked the U. S. economy.
He helped save it.
We might also remember that panic gripped the nation in the early days of 2009. By February, car sales were drying up as families in red states and blue states alike felt the economic pressure. That month, the auto industry was on a pace to sell 9.3 million vehicles for the year. Today, GM is coming back, Chrysler is solid and Ford Motors is on a roll. Car sales in September reached a 14.88 million pace.
Meanwhile, sixteen trillion dollars in home equity had been erased by the end of the first quarter of 2009 and none of that loss could be blamed on President Obama.
As of today, home prices are finally headed up again and home equity has rebounded more than $11.5 trillion since the moving van backed up at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and deposited Sasha and Malia’s toys and books and President Obama rolled up his sleeves and got down to work.
Guess what else is on the mend? U. S. consumer confidence hit a five-year high this month, the best since July 2007.
IN OTHER WORDS, YOU POOR DUMB CLUCKS on the right, President Obama saved your red, white and blue, free market-loving asses.
Viall lso write about education at http://ateacheronteaching.blogspot.com/