President Obama’s Latest Interview on the Economy – More Pinocchios on the Way

Guest Post by Howard Roark:

President Obama was on a roll in a recent interview with “The Economist”.

“Feel free to keep your house” sounds for my comfort too much like “If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor, period. If you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan, period. No one will take it away, no matter what.” How does this guy think he deserves any say whatsoever in whether anyone gets to keep their home?

Politifacts rated the oft-repeated keep your health plan and doctor statement as the lie of the year in 2013, and many, many others agreed, including the “Washington Post” who gave the President the biggest Pinocchio of the year award.

Obama continued,

“Our policies have produced a record stock market, record corporate profits, 52 months of consecutive job growth, 10 million new jobs … an energy sector that’s booming … a housing market that has bounced back … I think you’d have to say that we’ve managed the economy pretty well.”

Let’s think about those claims a little. Anyone who knows anything about the stock market and the economy gives credit for the record stock market to Ben Bernanke and Janet Yellen rather than Barack Obama. Massive infusions of liquidity into the financial markets do more to pump up stock prices than does a massive expansion of government, taxes and regulations.

Corporate profits are expanding, but primarily because many of our biggest employers are fleeing the United States because of high taxes and other government-imposed costs, and others are shipping our jobs to other countries. Income for most Americans, however, has been flat. Real, per capita disposal income was $36,078 in 2008 and rose a whopping two percent to $36,815 by 2013. This is all great if you are Goldman Sachs, Microsoft, JP Morgan Chase or Citibank (all among Obama’s top-ten contributors in 2008) but not so good if you are a middle-class American trying to support a family and save for retirement.

Obama needs some remedial math schooling regarding his job creation numbers also. In December 2008, the last full month before he took office, total nonfarm employment was 134,774,000. It had risen to 139,004,000 by last month. I make that 4,230,000 jobs for paltry growth over those years of about 3 percent; not 10 million jobs.

By comparison, nonfarm employment was 90,943,000 jobs in December 1980; the month before Ronald Reagan took office. By December 1988; Reagan’s last full month in office, the number had grown to 106,906,000 for an increase of nearly 16 million jobs representing employment growth of about 18 percent.

A much larger percentage of the jobs created during President Reagan’s administration were good, full-time jobs as opposed to the largely part-time, low-wage jobs for which Obama can claim credit. Obama had better hurray. He has only a couple of years to catch up with President Reagan’s stellar job growth record and the improvements in our standard of living we saw in the 1980s.

Obama likes to claim, as he did in this interview with “The Economist,” that he faced the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s. Well, maybe. The unemployment rate during Reagan’s presidency resulting from the recession he inherited topped out at 10.8 percent in November and December of 1982. The highest unemployment rate during Obama’s tenure was 10.0 percent in October of 2009. I guess it all depends on how you spin the numbers.

The energy sector is booming, but despite the Obama Administration rather than because of anything they have done. The Obama Administration and its radical environmental supporters (remember, like the California hedge fund billionaire who helped buy the Virginia election for McAulliffe) have prevented a great deal of energy exploration, blocked construction of the Keystone Pipeline, and candidate Obama even stated his desire to kill off the coal industry. Imagine where the U.S. economy and energy industry would be if we had a growth- and jobs-friendly president.

Regarding home prices, the S&P Case-Shiller 20-City Home Price Index was at 150.67 in December of 2008. As of May of this year it was at 171.04. That’s nominal growth of about two percent per year; significantly below historical averages. Even then, whatever credit is due goes to the Federal Reserve rather than the Obama Administration. Hundreds of billions of dollars of quantitative easing purchases of mortgage-backed securities that infused massive liquidity into the mortgage market and kept mortgage borrowing rates down did more to bring about home price recovery than did anything from the Obama Administration. Or, perhaps, is Obama so self-deluded as to think that “cash-for-clunkers,” subsidies for Solendra and various fellow cronies, and other waste as part of his “stimulus” magically cured the housing market?

By the time this interview concluded I suspect that the White House maintenance people had to be called in. There’s no way the President would be able to get his head through a normal door frame with all of these new Pinocchios.