As the townhall protests extend through August, many of the protesters are aiming their anger at a man that had nothing to do with the economic woes that the country now faces today. The policies of the Bush administration got us to the point where we have nearly 10% unemployment, an over trillion dollar deficit and “bailouts” to banks on Wall Street. President Obama inherited this mess and has been trying to dig us out ever since he took the oath of office.
By the way, Obama’s policies are working. The GDP fell by only 1% in the second quarter compared to over 6% in the first quarter of 2009. Most economists believe that the country will see growth in the 3rd quarter of 2009 (July to September). The stimulus did what it was intended for: it slowed the recession, saved jobs that would have been otherwise lost and invested in our country’s economy through infrastructure projects, green jobs and the largest tax cut in American history.
Even (some) Republicans understand. Conservative economist Bruce Bartlett laid out the facts in an article for the Daily Beast:
• Between the fourth quarter of 1992 and the fourth quarter of 2000, real GDP grew 34.7 percent. Between the fourth quarter of 2000 and the fourth quarter of 2008, it grew 15.9 percent, less than half as much.
• Between the fourth quarter of 1992 and the fourth quarter of 2000, real gross private domestic investment almost doubled. By the fourth quarter of 2008, real investment was 6.5 percent lower than it was when Bush was elected.
• Between December 1992 and December 2000, payroll employment increased by more than 23 million jobs, an increase of 21.1 percent. Between December 2000 and December 2008, it rose by a little more than 2.5 million, an increase of 1.9 percent. In short, about 10 percent as many jobs were created on Bush’s watch as were created on Clinton’s.
• During the Bush years, conservative economists often dismissed the dismal performance of the economy by pointing to a rising stock market. But the stock market was lackluster during the Bush years, especially compared to the previous eight. Between December 1992 and December 2000, the S&P 500 Index more than doubled. Between December 2000 and December 2008, it fell 34 percent. People would have been better off putting all their investments into cash under a mattress the day Bush took office.
• Finally, conservatives have an absurdly unjustified view that Republicans have a better record on federal finances. It is well-known that Clinton left office with a budget surplus and Bush left with the largest deficit in history. Less well-known is Clinton’s cutting of spending on his watch, reducing federal outlays from 22.1 percent of GDP to 18.4 percent of GDP. Bush, by contrast, increased spending to 20.9 percent of GDP. Clinton abolished a federal entitlement program, Welfare, for the first time in American history, while Bush established a new one for prescription drugs.
Tags: bailout, barack obama, bill, bill clinton, bruce bartlett, bush, clinton, daily beast, depression, economic, economy, gdp, george, george bush, obama, president, protest, recession, recovery, stimulus, tax cut, townhall, unemployment, wall street