Yesterday, President Obama began his nationwide speaking tour on which he’ll be talking about one topic: the economy.
“The one thing I care about is how to use every minute of the remaining 1,276 days of my term to make this country work for working Americans again,” Obama said in his first speech, at Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois.
That’s exactly what he should be doing, and in fact, that’s what he has been doing.
Despite the manufactured-scandal distractions – Benghazi, the IRS (which, it turns out, also targeted liberal groups), and Snowden – Obama’s record on the economy is untarnished and serves as a model for future presidents to follow in a recession.
Obama acted fast once in office: he pushed for and signed a badly-needed stimulus package that saved millions of jobs and funneled cash to construction projects that required more workers. (See a Washington Post wonk’s review of the stimulus.)
Obama then single-handedly saved the auto industry, deciding against advisers’ opinions that the government should lend the big auto companies enough money to stay afloat. (Chrysler and GM have since paid back all those loans, with interest.)
Next, Obama pushed through a massive overhaul of the country’s tangled healthcare system – which in the last two years alone has saved taxpayers $5 billion (which they can then spend in the economy).
Finally, Obama signed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. Dodd-Frank, which is basically the only reform to come out of the Great Recession, puts further checks on the banking system to ensure that their sub-prime mortgage gamble that came crashing down in 2008 cannot happen again.
It’s no accident that we’ve seen continuous job growth since Obama took office in 2009 (see chart). Conservatives will argue that it’s not necessarily “continuous,” due to the fluctuations; point taken – we’ve seen upward growth since 2009, with slight fluctuations due to economic trends that occur even in non-recession times.
However you look at it, we’re on the path to recovery and we have been for quite some time. Obama has led us to a sustainable economic future based on investment in the American worker.
That’s what his speaking tour is about, and undoubtedly that’s what he hopes his legacy will be about: ensuring that America continues to invest in the American worker, so that, as Obama said, America “works for working Americans again.”
Indeed, when the history of the Great Recession is written, analysts will say that the government didn’t do enough to spur spending and provide public sector work – but they won’t be talking about Obama’s record.
More government spending in the public sector is what Obama has been asking Congress to do for five years. And any sensible economist who has studied the boom-and-bust cycle of recessions will tell you that government spending is exactly what’s needed in a recession, because no industry can provide the capital to spur growth.
Luckily, Obama invested as much as he could, as quickly as he could, to start that growth in 2009.
Thank God we elected Obama in 2008 to handle the worst economic recession since the Great Depression.
In his recent speeches, he said, “Where I can act on my own, I’m going to.”
And thank God for that, because the last time Obama acted alone, he saved an entire industry with 1.45 million jobs.
Liberal Pressure Points
Conservative Pressure Points
Photo by www.thedailybeast.com.