Obama’s Economy: The President Asks Voters to Go on Faith

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Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

President Barack Obama addresses a campaign event at the Florida Institute of Technology Charles and Ruth Clemente Center in Melbourne, Fla., on Sept. 9, 2012.

Democrats are reveling in the damage the GOP base has done to Mitt Romney’s chances to defeat President Obama in November. Between Todd Akin’s malapropist contribution to the political lexicon (“legitimate rape”) and Romney’s high-stakes embrace of his party’s latter-day Ayn Randians, Republicans seem undeterred by the Democratic caricature of the GOP as a mass of science-denying fundamentalists in service of a few greedy plutocrats.

But with two months until Election Day, Obama is deeply engaged in his own effort to persuade Americans to put faith ahead of facts in what  was once the central battleground of the election: the economy. Over the past two weeks, even as the Democrats rallied to patriotic themes at their convention in Charlotte, several dismal economic reports have shown everything from slow job growth and manufacturing losses to flagging construction and faltering consumer confidence.

(PHOTOS: Democratic National Convention 2012)

As a result, Obama is not just unable to argue that he has fixed the broken economy he inherited but also is hard pressed to argue that the country is moving in the right direction. Which leaves him trying to convince Americans they’re better off with the sputtering economic recovery they know than the program Romney is offering.

The economic news is grim. August jobs data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show an anemic 96,000 new jobs created and a continuing exodus of people from the workforce. Manufacturing activity is at its lowest level in three years. Construction spending fell for the first time since March. And in late August, a widely watched consumer-confidence index dropped to its lowest level since November.

(MORE: Is U.S. Economic Growth a Thing of the Past?)

How bad is it? Just months ago, as hopes of a rebounding economy grew, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke tempered expectations for further central-bank intervention in the bond market. Now the Fed seems poised to launch a new round of quantitative easing in hopes of goosing the economy.

(PHOTOS: Political Pictures of the Week, Sept. 7-14)

For all that, the political consequences for Obama appear to be mixed. Democrats are touting the jobs gains over his tenure and have latched onto the auto bailout as the best evidence that his approach to the recovery can work if given time. That line of attack was distilled into its purest form by former Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm at the Charlotte convention.

In theory, Romney should be able to use the recent bad economic numbers to fight back hard against such attacks. But the Republican nominee seems unable to turn his business success into political capital. If the latest poll numbers are right, Romney’s failings are somehow making reluctant Obama supporters out of voters in swing states, despite the dismal economic facts.

MORE: New Jobs Figures Are Bad News for Obama

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Journal_tOO
Journal_tOO

Jmac- It seems like you are being very greedy with your money. Just

because you are rich doesn't mean you are important to Romney. What it

really means is that he’s just going to use up the rich people’s money too; just

like he wants to do with the middle class! There are a lot of people out in the

world struggling for food and shelter, but the rich people just don’t seem

to care! Romney seems to be a very greedy man when it comes to money. For him

to just make the rich richer is stupid in my opinion!!!! I think Obama's plan

is a lot more understanding and I know Obama is going to stick to his plan.

Mary Waterton
Mary Waterton

Have faith brothers and sisters ... that Obama won't collapse our economy with these $1.5 TRILLION deficits spent on "stimulus" that never stimulates and socialism that guarantees even larger deficits.

So steal your piece of the pie now ... while there is still a pie left to pillage. Sooner or later the house that deficits built will implode like the World Trade Center. You know it. Common sense tells you so.

Leftcoastrocky
Leftcoastrocky

The U.S. is on course to build up a debt so large that interest payments alone will begin to drown us, and Romney's economic plan is to reduce taxes further, with absolutely NO plan to make up the difference. In other words, his plan would make the debt worse.

TianbianHaiou
TianbianHaiou

 

"Every man has his own courage, and is

betrayed because he seeks in himself the courage of other persons."


I don't need Mitt Romney's fantasized $ courage,

nor the "fear" he recommended.
"

Fear defeats more people than any other one thing

in the world."

viguy007
viguy007

Mitt Romney asks "Are you better off today then you were 4 years ago?" Let's look at the numbers:

On July 1, 2008 the total measure of the goods and services produced by the economy (GDP) is 14.4 Trillion dollars. The After Tax Corporate Profits for the same time period is 1.21 Trillion dollars. The Samp;P 500 stock market index is at 1280, and the Unemployment rate is 5.6%.

During the summer of 2008 the recession began, and in addition a great financial crisis occurred which was not part of an ordinary business cycle recession. It was an institutional Bank Panic, akin to the 1929 Wall Street Crash.

 On January 1, 2009, the GDP was 13.9 Trillion (down 4.5% in six months). However, the After Tax Corporate Profits had collapsed to 643.7 Billion dollars, A LOST OF 50% OVER 6 MONTHS. The Samp;P 500 stock market index is at 903.25 (loss of 31%), and the Unemployment rate is 7.3 %, however Obama took office on January 20, just as unemployment was starting to accelerate; 10 days later the rate was 7.8% (up 39%).

We were officially in a recession, but given the rapidity and severity of the economic decline, people wondered if we were headed for another Great Depression.

We must keep in mind:

1) The economy is like a car speeding down a road, if you want to stop it, you apply the brakes, but it does not stop immediately. It takes some time and you travel some distance before you stop. Our economic car was speeding downhill very fast.

2) The day a President takes office he can not put all his programs and policies into effect. It takes time to pass laws and enact economic stimulus programs, especially if there is opposition to them. Sometimes you can do major things without congress, such as saving the automobile industry by using TARP, but that is the rare exception.

3) The goal of any corporation is to maximize profits. If profits decline, they will cut expenses by employee layoffs, or outsourcing to another country. In the past, laying off employees meant production went down, but with the computer and automation revolution, this is no loner true. Companies "trim the fat", and work the remaining employees a little bit harder, so that they produce as much as they did with the larger workforce. Their expenses go down, and both their profits and unemployment go up.

Because of the first two factors cited above, it is appropriate to evaluate Obama's economic program from a baseline of July 1, 2009 when his economic program had been enacted.

On July 1, 2009, one year after the recession started,  the GDP is 13.9 Trillion dollars (down 500 Billion from the year before), The After Tax Corporate Profits is 1.09 Trillion dollars; corporate expense cutting resulted in a profit recovery of 450 Billion dollars, over six months.  Unfortunately, it also lead to an unemployment rate of 9.5%. The Samp;P 500 stock market index is at 919.32.

Having now established our baseline, let us see what are the results of the Obama economic program. As last reported on July 1, 2012 the GDP is  15.6 Trillion dollars (up 12.2%). The After Tax Corporate Profits is 1.65 Trillion dollars (up 51.3%). The Samp;P 500 index as of September 1, 2012 is at 1399.48 (up 52.2%), and the Unemployment rate is 8.3% (down 14% from the baseline).

Yes, Mitt, the American economy has slowly healed itself. It is growing and no longer shrinking. Except for unemployment, all economic indicators are above pre-recession levels. So as a nation we are better off then we were four years ago.

But as to unemployment, President Obama can not order companies to hire people. It is private corporations that make this decision. Look at that number for After Tax Corporate Profits, up 51.3% in the last four years. This was only possible because they were cutting expenses by firing people ("Cutting Fat") and outsourcing jobs to other countries. Unemployment is high because of people like Mitt Romney, corporate financiers and CEO's, are trying to maximize profits.

See  http://CommonSenseFor.US

DocFreeman
DocFreeman

What his Muslim faith or the faith that founded our great nation Christianity?

Many Muslims today are not happy.

They’re not happy in Egypt .  They’re not happy in Libya .   They’re not happy in Morocco .    They’re not happy in Iran .

 They’re not happy in Iraq .   They’re not happy in Yemen .   They’re not happy in Afghanistan .   They’re not happy in Pakistan .   They’re not happy in Syria .   They’re not happy in Lebanon .

They’re happy in Australia .   They’re happy in the UK .   They’re happy in Canada .    They’re happy in the US .   They’re happy in France .   They’re happy in Germany .   They’re happy in Italy .   They’re happy in Sweden .   They’re happy in Denmark .   They’re happy in Norway . 

So…… They’re happy in every country that is not Muslim.    And who do they blame?     Not Islam.    Not their leadership.    Not themselves.    THEY BLAME THE COUNTRIES THEY ARE HAPPY IN AND THEY WANT TO CHANGE THEM TO BE LIKE THE COUNTRY THEY CAME FROM WHERE THEY WERE UNHAPPY.   Excuse me, but have I missed something here?

ladyinla
ladyinla

We are living through a very troubled time, and the economy, as troubled as it is, is just part of it.  Anxiety is at an all-time high.  I'm reading a lot of that here...  

What I see is an economy that is now tiptoeing slowly uphill, after it was falling off the cliff with no end in sight.  It's not sexy, but it's a massive improvement.  

Obama did that.

Let's take a deep breath, slow the adrenalin down, and try to see things as they are so we can see our way forward together clearly.

... this could have been worse than 1929.  Europe is worse than US.  Spain has 25% unemployment. Greece is in chaos.

There are no easy answers.  There's not one thing that if we do it tomorrow, all of this will go away.  I think every credible plan has an element of risk involved.

But I'm betting on a president who I believe cares most about everyday people.  You can't come up with a plan that helps everyday people if you honestly just don't have much empathy for them.  

And I just haven't seen anything yet to convince me that that person is Romney.

ChowT
ChowT

What was left by GWB was a financial monumental disaster.

Obama has a steady hand and economists have said it will take a generation to heal.

Obama 2012.

tunattunat
tunattunat

Obama and the Democratic controlled Congress could have fixed the tax code. Theycould have even tried when the Repubs took over the House. None of that happened and people are surprised that corporations are moving jobs out of this country?

Instead, a health care reform bill was passed, whose effects were unknown. Even Obama has said, we don't know how well it will work, but we have to try. I don't fault him for that. There are some good things in the law. But where are the priorities?

Trickle down may not work, but "spreading the wealth" from stealing from people does not work either. Find a better solution, that is what we pay the government t do.

Military spending needs to be cut, we outspend every other country out there on defense, even China. Fact is, government needs to be get efficient or it will destroy us. Do the arithmetic.

ChowT
ChowT

You use the word steal!. How does stealing works?

LiberalLies2012
LiberalLies2012

Not all, you are right. But many more are falling for hope and change now rewritten as "Forward".

You are part of the 50 percent who will work hard and achieve the American dream. But there are at least 50 percent who want it given to them.

LiberalLies2012
LiberalLies2012

The "hole" Obama threw money at and hoped it would improve things you mean.

All those "shovel ready" projects did nothing. The foundational blocks of our economy have been undermined. Banks allowed to be risk takers. Wall Street gamblers allowed to be Bankers. Glass Stengal was gutted by BOTH parties. Instead of putting Glass Stengal back, Democrats went with Frank-Dodd. A big mistake.

Both parties are equal in their special interest deals. Romney-Ryan understand that. They will make things right again.

ChowT
ChowT

Yeah.  Trust Mitt.

tpaine1
tpaine1

The soup lines will be funded by churches and the Salvation Army just as they were during the last Depression.

tpaine1
tpaine1

I don't think Democrats have a clue that the ObamaCare Tax - guaranteed to happen if Obama is re-elected - will plunge this country right into another Great Depression.  It's $1.4 TRILLION DOLLAR price tag - mostly taxes on business - will have a worse impact that 9/11.  Over a million Americans will lose their jobs as employers struggle to get below the 50 employee mark and over 50,000,000 Americans will lose their employer provided health insurance.

Joel A. Edge
Joel A. Edge

"his own effort to persuade Americans to put faith ahead of facts"

Sorry, the hope and change thing is done.

Donkeys
Donkeys

barack obama huinsane DAVIS is a po misguided bastard outside child of a 14 year old white trash ho VICTIM of black america HATING child pornographer rapist pig. He ishes his dum bitzch moma aborted him - hence full term murder abortion .... 

poyman
poyman

How rich... The President asking the party of Athiests and Agnostics to ignore his record and the facts associated with his Presidency and cling to "Faith" that he will make it better.

Pollopa
Pollopa

Just wondering Cristen,  What makes you feel the republican ticket provides a path forward to the improve the economy?  What has Romney actually put forward as a plan that clearly lays out economic improvement.  I only see plans that put into play what got us into trouble, so I'd like to know how you see it different.  Please don't tell me what Obama did, I know that I've lived it.  When I was your age I voted for Reagan once. Ivoted for GHWB as well. Neither time did I feel my status in life was improved from my hard work. I'm currently a high level manager at a top 5 American business. My life is excellent and I certainly appreciate the hole Obama pulled us out of to hold my status after a big loss. I really do want someone to explain to me why I should vote for Romney, not why not to vote for Obama. You said ESPECIALLY, so you must know what Romney will do.  He doesn't seem to want to tell me.

conservativechick
conservativechick

 Romney's energy policy alone will create an economic boom and tens of thousands of jobs.

What are the specifics of Obama's plan? Tax us all till our eyeballs bleed so he can funnel more money to his cronies? No Thanks.

The Chicago way on a national scale is disastrous for all of us.

Pollopa
Pollopa

I work in the energy business of big oil.  I'm an upper level manager.  I've worked the slopes and the gulf production through refining. Romney's energy policy is not going to improve my business one iota.  It isn't going to make me hire any faster than I am today, which is regular and growing. Not saying Obama has anything better, but Romney does not make me jump with joy.

Funny that you mention the tax thing.  My taxes have remained flat, and I would be considered upper income. I enjoy the "loopholes" that are present in the tax code as a middle class citizen and I don't hear Obama talking about changing them.  I do hear that Romney won't talk about which ones he will hit me with though. 

If Obama goes after the over $250k I will possibly pay more if my net income goes over, but only by how much it goes over.  I'd say I have a much bigger risk in Romney hitting my second home mortgage, my rentals and my first mortgage.  He might even hit my charitable contributions since I have no idea what he's talking about, and neither do you.

WTH are you folks talking the Chicago way all the time? Is that some code for I don't know what the  *** I'm talking about so you might want to consider I don't like Chicago? Otherwise it just shows you are afraid and desperate.  I pick that you're afraid and desperate.

Pollopa
Pollopa

RobLA -

You may be a registered democrat, but you are no democrat.  My guess is you have more interest in disrupting the due process of these United States than you do in helping make it work.  I have no support of either of these items except for your postings on this blog.   I at least am honest in how I present myself as a democrat.  I argue as such and present supporting evidence as best disgust allows. Your issue is clearly a hate for Obama and a disdain for anyone who may support him. Too bad that blocks your ability to argue coherently on issues that matter to your fellow citizens.

RobLACa
RobLACa

   Damn right I'm not a democrat, I'm an AMERICAN.    That is why I have contempt for the party of democrats.  The moment I began paying attention to politics I realized my mistake and was disgusted with the lies and the seething with hatred democrats displayed for Bush while they were in the complete minority.

   Obama didn't just call Republicans "the enemy", he was calling AMERICANS who don't need him ruling and dictating how we should live our lives the enemy.   We don't need him and he hates us for it.  There is debating anyone who believes they are entitled to rule and dictate how we Americans should live our lives.

    Democrats have declared war on the American people so now you are parroting Obama's BS and calling yourselves fellow citizens. You are democrats who fiend for power and tax payer dollars.  You have made yourselves the enemy of the American people who reject being ruled and dictated to.

Pollopa
Pollopa

Disqust rules.  This was for Robla below.

Pollopa
Pollopa

I don't have to pretend. That's what you do every day in believing that Rmoney will make anything better for the American people. Funny that you have no real argument, counterpoint or argument, just whining and name calling. Rob get a clue, you don"t bring anything to the world to make it better which is why you think Rmoney is the bomb.

RobLACa
RobLACa

    Yes you do have to pretend. You have to play make believe which what you do.  You cannot defend the indefensible.  Why do try to put words in other peoples mouths? 

   It's futile to argue with idiots like you. I not trying to convince of anything or trying to change your mind about anything.  I'm simply exposing you for what you are.

    "you don"t bring anything to the world to make it better which is why you think Rmoney is the bomb."

   This is such a childish thing to say.  It just show how immature you are and what a liar you are.    "The Bomb"?  That is so old. 

    Do you think you are making any kind of positive contribution to the world?  WOW! If you think you are, you really are that deluded.

    Thanks for proving you are not  smart enough to keep your lying trap shut. Useful idiot.

   

Pollopa
Pollopa

Thank you for making my point for me.  I have provided information in my posts, and all you come back with is name calling as usual.

People can read you know.  Where is it that you even tried to convince me of anything.  Your first post to me was telling me to get off. 

Speaking of immature this post of yours proves we both won't convince the other, but then you didn't even try.

Trish
Trish

Obama said " We " belong to the Government...That's a " Faith" I can't fathom , nor will I accept....in the words of Clint Eastwood....WE...own this Government.......So, the more appropriate question should be..." are we better off with Obama's policies over these last 4 years.........no second term.