Do you remember that line?
“It’s the economy, stupid!”
That’s the statement that James Carville made famous in explaining how Bill Clinton was to win re-election in 1996 – by focusing on the economy like a laser beam.
Something tells me that line can only backfire against the man Carville and Clinton both support for re-election in 2012.
The numbers don’t just tell the story – they scream it, as a WND investigative story showed a few days ago. Very little analysis is needed here. Just look at the charts and graphs.
Numbers don’t lie.
Here are some of the highlights – or, should I say, lowlights of Obamanomics:
- In 2009, real median household income was $52,195, according to the Census Bureau’s annual survey. Last year it dropped to $50,054 – the lowest level since 1989. When it comes to pay raises, those Americans who are working aren’t just running in place, they’re going backward – by decades.
- In January 2009, the jobless rate was 7.8 percent. Last month, unemployment stood at an even higher 8.1 percent, marking the 43rd consecutive month above 8 percent – the longest stretch since the Depression.
- In Obama’s first year in office, the share of impoverished Americans stood at 14.3 percent, the Census says. In 2011, the poverty rate climbed to 15.0 percent – the highest in almost two decades. The share of African-Americans in poverty was nearly double that level.
- In January 2009, the federal budget gap was reported to be $485 billion. Last month the deficit increased $191 billion to $1.16 trillion – topping $1 trillion for the fourth straight year. At 10 percent of the economy, it’s the highest level of red ink since World War II. As the president was speaking at the Democratic National Committee, the gross national debt hit an all-time high of $16 trillion – an amount roughly equal to the size of the entire Gross Domestic Product.
We haven’t heard much about the “misery index” since Jimmy Carter was president. But it is one of the best ways to measure the country’s economic health because it adds the inflation rate to the unemployment rate.
When the president took over the reins of the country in January 2009, the U.S. Misery Index stood at 7.8 percent. It’s now exactly two full percentage points higher, at 9.8 percent.
Like Obama, former President Reagan took office during a severe recession. But in contrast, Reagan was able to cut the misery index in half during his first term.
Here are some more numbers to consider:
- There are 12 million more Americans on food stamps since Obama’s recovery started.
- The total number on food stamps – 46 million – is the highest on record.
- More than 1 million workers have joined Social Security’s disability rolls over the last three years.
- Black teen unemployment, now at 37 percent, is near Depression-era highs.
- The share of Americans who’ve been out of work a long time – now roughly 40 percent of the unemployed – is the highest since the Depression.
- The proportion of the civilian working-age population that is actually working, now at 58 percent, is the smallest since the Carter era.
- Three in 10 young adults can’t find jobs and are living with their parents – the highest level since the 1950s, according to Pew Research Center.
- Fifty-four percent of bachelor’s degree-holders under the age of 25 are jobless or underemployed, the highest share in decades, according to Northeastern University.
- Total government dependency – defined as the share of Americans receiving one or more federal benefit payments, now at 47 percent – is the highest level in American history.
- The national homeownership rate, now at 65 percent, is the lowest in 15 years.
- The 30-point gap between black and white Americans who own their own homes is the widest in two decades and one of the widest chasms on record, Census data show.
Somehow, I don’t expect to hear Obama and the Democrats telling us, “It’s the economy, stupid!”
Maybe, in 2012, it should be adopted as the slogan of Romney and the Republicans.