Census data document that only the wealthiest in the nation have seen their incomes rise under Barack Obama’s administrative and economic policies and the poorest, in fact, have seen their incomes plunge more than 7 percent.
According to John Merline who reported the statistics in Investor’s Business Daily, the “three years of income losses for the middle class” followed Obama’s “repeated promises that he would build prosperity from the bottom up.”
The report followed by just days confirmation that under Obamanomics, “everything that ought to be down is up, and everything that should be up is down.”
- When Obama entered office in January 2009, total nonfarm payroll employment stood at 133.56 million, according to the Labor Department. Last month it totaled 133.30 million – a net decrease of more than 260,000 jobs. Considering the recession ended more than three years ago, any employment shortfall is unusual; but economists call the Obama jobs gap downright shocking.
- 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 backwards – by decades.
- When Obama stepped into the Oval Office in January 2009, consumer confidence was 61.2 percent. In August, the index stood at 60.6 percent. At this point in a recovery, economists say confidence should be soaring. But consumers remain unusually glum about the economic outlook.
- 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 WWII.
According to the IBD report, since 2009 the middle 20 percent of households in America sustained a drop of four percent in income, while the bottom 20 percent have seen their income drop more than seven percent.
Adjusting for inflation, the report said, the bottom 20 percent “are now lower than they’ve been at any time since 1985.”
It was the wealthiest, the report said, who have “managed to eke out gains in two of the past three years. In 2011, the top 20 percent say their average income climb almost two percent.”
Reported Merline, “These results are in direct contrast of what President Obama said his policies would produce when he ran for president in 2008.”
It was that year, IBD reported, Obama promised, “I’ve put forward a series of proposals that will foster economic growth from the bottom up.”
Merline continued, “These results are highly unusual in an economic recovery, which typically produces income gains across the board. During the eight-year Reagan boom, for example, incomes at the bottom climbed 14 percent, while those in the middle climbed 13 percent, and those at the top 22 percent.”
“University of California, Berkeley, economist Emmanuel Saez found that the top one percent captured 93 percent of the income gains between 2009 and 2010, which is a far higher share than occurred during the 2002-07 Bush expansion,” the IBD reported.
Regarding the “up is down” problem, Obama’s economics have brought the U.S. to a record debt of $16 trillion, and under Obama the U.S. Treasury has been downgraded for the first time in history.
Meanwhile, the Obama camps insists Americans are better off than they were four years ago. “Absolutely,” asserted Obama’s deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter when asked the proverbial presidential campaign question earlier this month.
But the so-called misery index says otherwise.
Perhaps the clearest barometer of the economic health of citizens, the misery index adds the inflation rate to the unemployment rate. A combination of higher unemployment and inflation wreaks havoc on consumers – which is precisely what has happened under Obama, as Americans are squeezed by lower wages and higher prices for food and gas.
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.
By almost every objective measure, Americans are in fact worse off than they were four years ago. In fact, Obama never really pulled the country “out of the ditch,” as the president claims.
“Sadly, we have never really recovered from the recession,” Hoover Institution economist Edward Lazear said. “The economy has not even returned to its long-term growth rate and is certainly not making up lost ground.”
He explains that during the postwar period leading up to the recession, the average annual growth rate for the U.S. was 3.4 percent. Since then, the economy has grown at an anemic clip of slightly north of 2 percent – well below the long-term trend.
That means, at this point, the overall economy is a whopping 12 percent smaller than it would have been had it resumed the growth path since the recession, Lazear says.
As the economy has stagnated, the poor, minorities and the working class – groups Obama champions – have suffered the most. Several indicators illustrate just how bad things have gotten for the lower and middle classes.
Consider the following:
- 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.
- 3 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.
- 54 percent of bachelor’s degree-holders under the age of 25 – aka Generation O:
the age cohort who voted for Obama – 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.
Obama blames the Bush administration for the raft of negative superlatives and historically bad indicators. He maintains that he inherited a severe economic crisis that will require more time and more government spending to remedy.
While it’s true he inherited a severe recession, the National Bureau of Economic Research says it actually ended in June 2009 – just five months into Obama’s term.
After the president quickly got his jobs stimulus bill and other legislative pieces of his economic recovery package through a Democrat-controlled Congress, his economists confidently forecast strong GDP and employment numbers for 2010-2012 and beyond. His budget office, moreover, forecast shrinking deficits.
Of course, the actual numbers fell miserably short of the White House’s projections. Since the president failed to measure up to his own yardstick, analysts say, he cannot credibly blame his predecessor.