Obama trying pretty hard to explain away his economic record

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Published by: Dan Calabrese on Wednesday June 01st, 2016

But he forgets to mention a few things.

One thing political reporters are forever doing to annoy me is ascribing motives to things politicians do. If this or that president talks about his record on something, it's because he's got his "eye on his legacy" or whatever. You don't know that and neither do I, unless the president says so himself.

All you know is what he said. And when Barack Obama presents his economic record as some sort of positive achievement, it doesn't matter what motivated him to do so. The only thing that matters is whether his statements present an accurate picture of what actually happened as a result of his policies. Do they? Obama spokesman Josh Earnest tried to make the case during a visit to Elkhart, Indiana:

Back in 2009, the president visited the Elkhart area before and after passage of the $840 billion stimulus bill, a package of infrastructure and education projects that Obama and aides call the Recovery Act.

The stimulus and other Obama administration actions, including the health care law, new Wall Street regulations, and the automobile industry bailout, helped stave off another Great Depression, the president and his aides say. It also sparked a recovery that is being felt in places like Elkhart.

The city that is known for production of recreational vehicles saw its unemployment rate soar to 19.6% during the financial crisis, Earnest noted; it is down to around 4%. Nationally, the jobless rate has fallen from 10% to 5% this past April. Home foreclosures are also down in Elkhart and throughout the country, he said.

Obama defenders often toss out stats without context. They'll tell you the deficit is reduced, but they won't tell you Obama exploded it in the first place with four years over $1 trillion. They'll tell you job creation is up, but they won't tell you it's still below replacement levels. They'll talk about "steady" economic growth but they'll leave out the fact that slow growth is all we're getting.

All you really need to know about Obama's economic record can be summed up in three facts:

1. Average quarterly economic growth since 2011 (we're being nice and not counting any of the Great Recession or even the year after that) has been less than 2.0 percent. That is simply awful.

2. The national debt has nearly doubled during Obama's presidency.

3. Labor force participation is at its lowest point since the Carter Administration.

And all three are related. We're running up debt because we're not producing enough to achieve consistent robust economic growth - thus hampering revenues to the Treasury and giving us more borrowing - and that's because not enough people are doing anything productive to create real wealth and value.

And that's because Obama's policies are hostile toward productivity and profit. He loves to make "investments" of taxpayer money, but he doesn't understand the best "investment" the federal government could make would be to never confiscate the wealth in the first place from the people who are producing. What those people would do, given their full compliment of the available capital, would do much more to create opportunity and prosperity than anything a politician would ever do after confiscating what he or she didn't earn.

If Obama's economic record were so good, why would all three of the remaining candidates be appealing so much to people's sense of economic anxiety? They couldn't. But despite the way the administration tries to spin the numbers, America is in a place of economic and fiscal peril. Normal people may not know all the pertinent facts but the media helps politicians hide the severity of the problem. But they know something ain't right.

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