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About Those 4.5 Million New Jobs, Mr. President

One of the most common things you’ll hear from the Obama campaign and its surrogates in response to the “Are You Better Off?” question is the assertion that, since the President has taken office, 4.5 million new private sector jobs have been created. Now, as I’ve mentioned before, while it’s great that all those people have jobs now, that’s not entirely impressive given the number of people who now qualify as “long term unemployed” and who have simply given up looking for a job. Add into that the fact that monthly average job growth has been barely keeping up with population growth. Indeed, if you take that 4.5 million number and divide it by the 42 full months Obama has been President (starting in February 2009), that’s an average of just over 100,000 new jobs per month, which most employment analysts would consider a disappointing jobs report. If you divide it by the 29 months that Obama’s campaign frequently cites, that puts us about 155,000 new jobs per month on average, which is barely above the level needed to keep up with population.

But wait, there’s more:

[A]n accurate description of the growth of private-sector jobs since January 2010, when the long, steep slide in employment finally hit bottom. But while a total of 4.5 million jobs sounds great, it’s not the whole picture.

Nonfarm private payrolls hit a post-recession low of 106.8 million that month, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The figure currently stands at 111.3 million as of July.

While that is indeed a gain of 4.5 million, it’s only a net gain of 300,000 over the course of the Obama administration to date. The private jobs figure stood at 111 million in January 2009, the month Obama took office.

And total nonfarm payrolls, including government workers, are down from 133.6 million workers at the beginning of 2009 to 133.2 million in July 2012. There’s been a net loss of nearly 1 million public-sector jobs since Obama took office, despite a surge in temporary hiring for the 2010 census.

That’s from a CNN Fact Check which concludes that the 4.5 million number is only accurate if you don’t start looking at jobs figures until one year after President Obama entered office, and some 11 months after the President’s $800 billion stimulus package was passed by Congress. In other words, it’s spin.

Yes, it’s true that the President came into office at a time when the economy was cratering and hundreds of thousands of people were being laid off. That’s why my calculations about left out the months of January 2009. I could’ve left out the months of February 2009 as well without appreciably changing the numbers above. However, it’s also true that the American Recovery And Reinvestment Act became law on February 17, 2009, and it wasn’t long after that we started hearing from Obama Administration officials that we would begin seeing appreciable results from this investment of $800 billion dollars, much of it in Democratic Party pet projects rather than anything that could be remotely considered economically stimulative, very shortly. At some point, a President has to accept responsibility for the nation that he’s leading rather than blaming his predecessors, and it strikes me that a good place to start would be the point at which the piece of legislation that he said was necessary to save the economy became law.

As CNN notes, the Obama campaign is accurate in it’s claim, in one sense. The economy has added 4.5 million new jobs, as long as you start counting those new jobs from January 2010 and ignore the year that preceded it. So, it’s a true fact, it’s just an incomplete fact that doesn’t provide complete context, and certainly overstates the jobs gains that this nation has experienced since Barack Obama became President. Does this count as  a lie? I wouldn’t go that far, but it does count in my book as deliberately incomplete political spin designed to make the President look better than the numbers actually show. How important it is you consider that likely depends on which candidate you happen to support in this election.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. EddieInCA says:

    Wow…

    So two months after taking office, Obama is responsible for the jobs lost, in your calculation?

    No mention of the Bush policies leading to the cratering of the economy?

    Really? That’s your position?

    Wow.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 53 Thumb down 6

  2. That’s from a CNN Fact Check which concludes that the 4.5 million number is only accurate if you don’t start looking at jobs figures until one year after President Obama entered office, and some 11 months after the President’s $800 billion stimulus package was passed by Congress. In other words, it’s spin.

    No Doug, it’s economics.

    The only people who look at economic cycles as “Presidential term” are political types, or a subset of those who are economic agnostics.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 1

  3. legion says:

    It’s also important, from an election-decision POV, to ask yourself “what would Republicans have done differently?” The tricky part about answering that is that Republicans themselves haven’t offered many ideas. And the ones they have served up would undeniably have made the economy significantly worse. By the way, these are the same Bush-era policies Romney & Ryan are promising to bring back – only more so! – if they are elected.

    In other words, no matter what you think of Obama’s policies, if you think the Republicans couldn’t do worse, you haven’t been paying the slightest bit of attention…

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 24 Thumb down 3

  4. (Your theme for the last couple days seems to be to fight the economic view, and champion the political. It would be a different thing entirely to propose a better economic perspective, but you never do that.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  5. David M says:

    According to Mitt Romney, we should give a president “at least six months or a year to get those policies in place” to improve the economy and create jobs. Under that light, the time frame used by the Obama campaign seems pretty reasonable.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 34 Thumb down 0

  6. al-Ameda says:

    Imagine the job creation statistics if the Administration had – as Romney and many Republicans preferred – let GM go into bankruptcy. Hundreds of thousands of jobs would have been lost in auto industry support businesses across the midwest Great Lakes region.

    Is the jobs situation good? Perhaps not, but it is certainly better than it was when the recession was on, hundreds of thousands of jobs were being shed, and the UE rate was over 10%.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  7. MBunge says:

    For somebody who CONSTANTLY claims to hold no particular allegiance to the GOP, Doug sure strains to come up with posts like this on a regular basis.

    Mike

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 2

  8. @john personna:

    According to the National Bureau For Economic Research, the recession which began in December 2007 ended in June 2009.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 7

  9. @al-Ameda:

    General Motors (and Chrysler) did go into bankruptcy. The billions of dollars in loans that Presidents Bush and Obama gave them failed to revive the companies.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 6

  10. @MBunge:

    Yea thanks to that well known right wing news outlet……….. CNN

    Amusing, that is.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3

  11. @EddieInCA:

    Why should he wait until a year after he took office to start accepting responsibility.

    Heck, let’s make the cut off date June 2009, when the recession officially ended.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 8

  12. An explanation of recessions, recoveries, jobs, and how they DON”T correlate to the “4 year” question is here:

    Are Americans Better Off Than They Were Four Years Ago?

    You can reasonably compare recessions and recoveries using the starting date of a recession or using the jobs bottom. You have to be an idiot (by nature or intent) to sync them to Presidential term.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  13. al-Ameda says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    General Motors (and Chrysler) did go into bankruptcy. The billions of dollars in loans that Presidents Bush and Obama gave them failed to revive the companies.

    So the companies – GM and Chrysler – are gone, and the jobs are lost?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 2

  14. @john personna:

    As I said in this post, and several days ago, even accepting the campaign’s argument 4.5 million jobs over 3 years is pretty pathetic

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 20

  15. @al-Ameda:

    You don’t understand Bankruptcy Law do you? Most major corporations file under Chapter 11, which is also known as “Reorganization” as opposed to Chapter 7 which is “Liquidation.” That is also “bankruptcy.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 11

  16. @Doug Mataconis:

    Again, that is a political answer and not an economic one.

    A serious economic answer would address the size of the downturn:

    U.S. Recession Worst Since Great Depression, Revised Data Show

    You have to be an idiot (by nature or intent) to simply assert that recoveries should be “fast”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 1

  17. Moosebreath says:

    @al-Ameda:

    “So the companies – GM and Chrysler – are gone, and the jobs are lost?”

    That would come as a surprise to the millions of people who bought GM and Chrysler cars in the last year. Care to revise and extend your remarks, Doug?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  18. al-Ameda says:

    Forbes Detroit bureau chief and auto writer Joann Muller:

    “GM has serious problems, but they are fixable, with strong leadership,” Muller wrote. “It has $33 billion in cash and $5 billion in debt on its balance sheet; posted $2.5 billion in net income so far this year, and generated $1.7 billion in automotive free cash flow in the second quarter.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  19. David Lampo says:

    @legion: Clearly, you’ve not been paying attention. Reps. have offered lots of ideas beyond the let’s-spend-our-way-out-of-this-mess philosophy, which has failed the president’s own benchmarks. Cutting business taxes, not piling on the enormous uncertainty and higher taxes of Obamacare, cutting the minimum wage and other policies to reduce labor costs. What the president and Congress can do is limited given the huge amount of debt from the housing bust and its effects on the wider economy, but there are other options besides simply piling on more debt, which is really just kicking the can down the road for others to fix. And what Bush policies are you talking about that caused the recession? That’s a typical Dem. talking point, but the recession was caused by the housing bubble bursting, a function of the Fed’s monetary policies over the course of several years. What’s that got to do with Bush? It’s the same old tired blame somebody else defense. Obama claimed he could fix it, and he failed. End of story.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 13

  20. @john personna:

    I’m not saying they should be fast, I am merely pointing out that the Obama campaign is not discussing the jobs issue in context.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 9

  21. @Moosebreath:

    You guys do understand the difference between Chapter 11 and Chapter 7, right? They’re both a form of “bankruptcy”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3

  22. @Doug Mataconis:

    Of course they are. You can address recovery from the start of the recession, or from the bottom. Both are valid economic techniques.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  23. David Lampo says:

    @john personna: Doug didn’t assert that the recovery should be fast: He accurately analyzed the jobs claims of the administration, which was properly fact-checked by CNN.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 10

  24. al-Ameda says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    You don’t understand Bankruptcy Law do you? Most major corporations file under Chapter 11, which is also known as “Reorganization” as opposed to Chapter 7 which is “Liquidation.” That is also “bankruptcy.”

    Actually I do understand, however, I disagree with your statement that the bail-out loans failed.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  25. @al-Ameda:

    All they did was keep the companies on life support before the inevitable Chapter 11, and incur debt to the government that they never should have been permitted to incur.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 8

  26. And technically you did say they should be faster, here:

    As I said in this post, and several days ago, even accepting the campaign’s argument 4.5 million jobs over 3 years is pretty pathetic

    Change in direction noted.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  27. David Lampo says:

    @EddieInCA: He of course didn’t say any such thing. Read the article and stop your knee jerk defense of His Holiness.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 17

  28. @David Lampo:

    “4.5 million jobs over 3 years is pretty pathetic”

    Compared to what? The Great Depression?

    Because that’s how far you have to go back to find conditions as extreme.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 23 Thumb down 2

  29. MattT says:

    “much of it in Democratic Party pet projects…”

    And much more of it again – about a third – in tax cuts that had to be included to win votes from Blue Dogs and “moderates” despite the fact that cuts are much less stimulative than spending. The stimulus should have been more efficient, and either larger or followed by a second round, but with GOP obstructionism and the deficit fetish of the media, was that ever politically possible?

    Also, no discussion of this topic is complete without noting the loss of ~600,000 public sector jobs since Obama’s election. If the federal government had stepped up with more help for states and cities to avoid those layoffs, the unemployment rate would currently be around 7%.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 0

  30. John,

    It is pretty pathetic, it hasn’t kept up with population growth, and it doesn’t take into account the millions who have given up looking for work completely. Those are facts. How you interprets those facts is your choice.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 6 Thumb down 18

  31. @Doug Mataconis:

    You’ve now taken refuge in a value judgement, and one that refuses to acknowledge or discuss the scale of the downturn.

    This is your “dribble a losing game” technique, as I’ve noted.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  32. mantis says:

    I’ll respond to this argument from Doug with Doug’s standby argument: both sides do it!

    The Republicans are blaming Obama for a whole host of things that happened before he even took office. Bailouts, plant closures, job losses, etc. So the Democrats start measuring the effects of their economic policies months after they are first implemented. Both sides do it!

    Oh, I forgot. That’s only a valid argument when excusing something Republicans do. It doesn’t count for Democrats.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 0

  33. mantis says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    All they did was keep the companies on life support before the inevitable Chapter 11, and incur debt to the government that they never should have been permitted to incur.

    They kept an industry from collapsing, and saved millions of jobs. It was worth it.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 0

  34. I am merely pointing out that the Obama campaign’s oft-cited claim, while true, is not a complete view of the jobs picture during his Presidency. How you choose to view that is your choice.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 3 Thumb down 17

  35. al-Ameda says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    All they did was keep the companies on life support before the inevitable Chapter 11, and incur debt to the government that they never should have been permitted to incur.

    A final note: I believe that about 13% ($7B) of the bail-out amount of $53B \was in the form of a loan from TARP to GM, and the majority was utilized in acquiring preferred and common equities. I believe the loan was paid back and the tax payers still hold the equities.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  36. Stonetools says:

    Doug s now not even pretending to be unbiased here. He isn’t quite full Romney supporter just yet, but he is getting there.
    No objective analysiis can blame President Obama for the state of the economy before his proferred solution has been passed into law and implemented. We elected a President, not a time traveling magician.
    Its also important to realize that we didn’t elect a king, either. Did the President have a free hand to craft the solution he wanted? Or was he fiercely and effectively opposed by an opposition that wanted him to fail and did everything possible to limit and even sabotage any efforts to revive the economy?

    Finally, what would be Republican solution have been? Have GM and Chrysler go into a Chapter 7 solution and be liquidated? No stimulus? What would the jobs created total have been then.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0

  37. Mantis,

    Chrysler and GM could have filed the same managed bankruptcies, with the same government-backed Debtor-in-Possession financing months earlier, and saved the taxpayers billions of dollars and likely put themselves on the right course sooner. Who knows, maybe Chrysler would’ve ended up being more than just the American brand name of an Italian car company.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 6

  38. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    General Motors (and Chrysler) did go into bankruptcy. The billions of dollars in loans that Presidents Bush and Obama gave them failed to revive the companies.

    Yes Doug, a bankruptcy that allowed them to emerge intact and allowed most of their suppliers to survive as well. Something that never would have happened with out the federal bail out money because their was no private sector money available. I know this goes against your philosophical soul (creative destruction and all that), so there probably isn’t any reason to point this out, but that is approximately a million jobs saved.

    But to some people, mostly those who think it does not affect them, that does not matter.

    Oh, and for the record:

    DETROIT, May 24 (Reuters) – Chrysler Group LLC was set on Tuesday to repay $7.5 billion in U.S. and Canadian government loans from its 2009 federal bailout,

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  39. MattT says:

    All they did was keep the companies on life support

    “All they did?” That’s a pretty cavalier dismissal of the value of keeping those factory doors open, 100s of thousands of people working, and those huge supply chains up and running.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0

  40. David Lampo says:

    @john personna: But the Great Depression is what Democrats have repeatedly compared this recession to.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  41. David M says:

    This is no different than Romney’s claim his policies will generate 12 million new jobs, when that’s in the expected range for the economy regardless of who is elected.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  42. David Lampo says:

    @Stonetools: Just a question for those who keep pointing out that Obama can’t be responsible for what happened before he took office? Did you all make the same defense of Bush when a recession began three months after he took office? Did you point out the dot com bust began in early 2000 and then culminated in the 2001 recession? Did you blame Clinton for that recession the way you blame Bush for this one? Very interesting.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 10

  43. al-Ameda says:

    @David Lampo:

    @john personna: But the Great Depression is what Democrats have repeatedly compared this recession to.

    Possibly because the 2008 collapse of the financial and housing markets was the worst economic catastrophe we’ve experienced since the Great Depression. Also, approximately $14 Trillion dollars in wealth and income was lost in the 2008 collapse. We haven’t seen anything like this in eighty years.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  44. @OzarkHillbilly:

    Yes Doug, a bankruptcy that allowed them to emerge intact and allowed most of their suppliers to survive as well. Something that never would have happened with out the federal bail out money because their was no private sector money available.

    You are confusing two very different things. The first is the pre-bankruptcy money that was given to these companies by Presidents Bush and Obama. The second is the Debtor in Possession financing that was either provided by or guaranteed by the Federal Government when they filed Chapter 11. The first, which amounted to billions of dollars over the course of a rather short period had absolutely nothing with getting those company through the Chapter 11 and was instead being used to pay day-to-day expenses from December 2008 (the date of the first loans) through June 2009 when the bankruptcy petitions were filed.

    By the time GM and Chrysler filed for bankruptcy protection the money that was loaned in that six month period had already been spent.

    At the time the petitions were filed the government stepped in as a debtor in possession lender. That could have been done months before, thus saving the taxpayers billions of dollars.

    At the time President Bush gave out the first set of loans there were many people advocating for a managed bankruptcy with Federal involvement in the DIP financing. He and and successor chose a far less prudent course of action before finally realizing that Chapter 11 was inevitable for both companies.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 4

  45. @MattT:

    And as I discuss in this comment, the pre-bankruptcy loans did NOTHING to prevent the need for both companies to file for bankruptcy protection.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 4

  46. Stonetools says:

    Shorter Doug:

    In my fantasy world where the banking system wasn’t on life support and private financing was available , Chrysler and GM could have gone through Chapter 11 in the regular way.
    So Doug thinks not that the President is a time traveling magician, but that we live in a parallel universe. Got it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  47. Moosebreath says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    “You guys do understand the difference between Chapter 11 and Chapter 7, right? They’re both a form of “bankruptcy” ”

    They are. However, you also said, “The billions of dollars in loans that Presidents Bush and Obama gave them failed to revive the companies.”

    As noted, that is not the case. Companies that are dead do not sell millions of cars.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  48. mantis says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Chrysler and GM could have filed the same managed bankruptcies, with the same government-backed Debtor-in-Possession financing, and saved the taxpayers billions of dollars and likely put themselves on the right course sooner.

    Your memory is a fantasy. Actually, you just seem to be parrotting Mitt Romney’s absurd position. I’ll just leave it to Steve Rattner:

    As a presidential aspirant, Mr. Romney evidently hasn’t felt a need to be consistent or specific as to what should have been done to address the collapse of the auto industry starting in late 2008. But the gist is that the government should have stayed on the sidelines and allowed the companies to go through what he calls “managed bankruptcies,” financed by private capital.

    That sounds like a wonderfully sensible approach — except that it’s utter fantasy. In late 2008 and early 2009, when G.M. and Chrysler had exhausted their liquidity, every scrap of private capital had fled to the sidelines.

    I know this because the administration’s auto task force, for which I was the lead adviser, spoke diligently to all conceivable providers of funds, and not one had the slightest interest in financing those companies on any terms. If Mr. Romney disagrees, he should come forward with specific names of willing investors in place of empty rhetoric. I predict that he won’t be able to, because there aren’t any.

    So where was the financing supposed to come from, exactly? Maybe you’re thinking it could be produced “retroactively?”

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 0

  49. @Stonetools:

    The ARRA was passed into law in February 2009. The tax provisions, most of which merely effective payroll withholding and left people with about an extra $16 a week in their paycheck, took effect two months later. Disbursements were made to projects almost immediately.

    So when, exactly, does Obama become responsible for anything in this country?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 7

  50. David Lampo says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: The taxpayer doled out around $80 billion for the car companies, and only half of that has been recovered. That’s hardly a success story. And what if the companies had still gone under? Then another $80 billion down the debt drain, but hey, who’s counting? Clearly, not you.

    http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2012/mar/21/barack-obama/president-barack-obama-campaign-video-says-auto-co/

    check it out.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 6

  51. anjin-san says:

    Did you point out the dot com bust began in early 2000 and then culminated in the 2001 recession?

    I don’t think anyone blames Bush for the relatively mild recession that was underway when he took office, I certainly don’t. Republicans, on the other hand, have been trying for years to attach blame for our current economic problems to Obama, engaging in a bit of selective amnesia about what conditions were when he became President.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0

  52. @mantis:

    Read this comment because you’re not understanding what I’m saying. They could’ve done exactly what Rattner did in Bankruptcy Court months earlier and saved the taxpayer billions of dollars.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 4

  53. Stonetools says:

    @David Lampo:

    Actually I would blame Clinton for that mild recession. Bush is guilty of much, much more without putting that on him. Your point?uu

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  54. anjin-san says:

    That’s hardly a success story.

    Actually, it is. The value of the auto industry to our country is a hell of a lot more than 40 billion.

    And what if the companies had still gone under?

    What if an asteroid had hit the earth? We are concerned with what actually happened.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  55. Mark says:

    @MarkinVA: Exactly what Bush policies do you refer to? The only thing a president can do is talk at a press conference and veto a bill. There are presidential orders but those are rare and until Obama never against existing laws. The democratic senate and house setup the far reaching housing loan policies that Bush tried to head off. It is documented in every presidential budget he submitted to congress. If we did not give loans to those that didn’t deserve them we wouldn’t have had a bubble and at most we would have had a very minor stock correction. Look at the source of the issues and don’t let your political glasses stare at “Bush”.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 8

  56. David M says:

    @Mark:

    If we did not give loans to those that didn’t deserve them we wouldn’t have had a bubble and at most we would have had a very minor stock correction.

    That is a complete fabrication by the GOP and their allies. They’ve tried to put the blame on the CRA / Fannie & Freddie, but there isn’t any evidence to support their claims.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0

  57. Ben Wolf says:

    @Doug Mataconis: When doing an analysis of economic performance under presidents I typically begin with their second year in office as new policies simply haven’t had sufficient time to overcome inertia from the policies of their predecessors. Hence I don’t hold Bush responsible for the recession in 2001 but assign responsiblility to Clinton. The same applies to Obama and his first year.

    I think this is rather more fair.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  58. eric_d78 says:

    Private sector jobs created after 2001 recession during Bush’s first term: 900,000

    Private sector jobs created after 2008 recession during Obama’s first term: 4,500,000

    Just to put things in context.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 0

  59. mantis says:

    @Mark:

    The only thing a president can do is talk at a press conference and veto a bill.

    You obviously know next to nothing about our government.

    There are presidential orders but those are rare and until Obama never against existing laws.

    Funny joke. Tell another.

    The democratic senate and house setup the far reaching housing loan policies that Bush tried to head off.

    Ah, the old CRA argument. Utter nonsense.

    If we did not give loans to those that didn’t deserve them we wouldn’t have had a bubble and at most we would have had a very minor stock correction.

    Who is this “we” you speak of? Are you a bank? They caused the collapse, with an assist from an anti-regulatory Congress that let them do whatever they hell they wanted.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  60. michael reynolds says:

    That is thin, pitiful stuff, Doug. I’d pile on further but your post is already buried in justified derision.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0

  61. Hal 10000 says:

    Guys, even we are generous to Obama and give him his 155,000 jobs a month, that’s not very much. During the Reagan and Clinton recoveries, we *averaged* 300,000 jobs per month. Go to the BLS’s website (http://data.bls.gov/pdq/SurveyOutputServlet) and play with the data yourself. Take a 20-year plot from 1981 and 2012 and you’ll see just how radically different the 80′s and 90′s were comparing to the 00′s and 10′s. If you exclude the Census, no month of Obama has seen more than 300k jobs created. In 1984, it happend eight times. In 1994, it happened seven times. I’ll posit that Obama was handed a horrifying economy. But, after four years, you’d think we’d be doing better than this.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 9

  62. Herb says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    “I’m not saying they should be fast, I am merely pointing out that the Obama campaign is not discussing the jobs issue in context.”

    If they were, they’d say something like, “Ya know, my ability as president to create jobs is actually quite limited.”

    No one wants to hear that, though. They want to cry out, “Y U no create jobs?”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  63. MBunge says:

    @Doug Mataconis: “Yea thanks to that well known right wing news outlet……….. CNN”

    And did somebody at CNN put a gun to your head and force you to blog about this subject?

    Doug, you don’t by any chance go off your meds every so often and post under the sock puppet of “Allen Montgomery” over at Comicon.com, do you?

    Mike

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  64. mantis says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Read this comment because you’re not understanding what I’m saying. They could’ve done exactly what Rattner did in Bankruptcy Court months earlier and saved the taxpayer billions of dollars.

    I understand what you are saying. You are distorting history. There was no time for managed bankruptcy. Attempting that in November 2008 – February 2009 would have killed those companies.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  65. john personna says:

    @Hal 10000:

    How does “Obama’s” recovery compare to other national housing crashes of similar scale?

    Extra credit: why are national housing crashes “hard?”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  66. MBunge,

    And yet when I criticized Mitt Romney’s welfare ad or his claims about the Ohio early voting lawsuit, everyone seemed to love it.

    Is one not allowed to call Democrats on the carpet?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2

  67. Mantis,

    There’s really no evidence for that assertion but even if it were true, then there’s no reason it could not have been done in March or April 2009 when Obama was loaning billions to these companies even though they’d failed to do any serious restructuring after getting money from Washington in December 2008.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3

  68. john personna says:

    @Doug Mataconis

    The Obama claim gets a clean call on its economics.

    False equivalence to the Nth

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  69. John,

    Okay, you’re fine with the campaign cooking the books. Got it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 7

  70. MBunge says:

    @Doug Mataconis: “Is one not allowed to call Democrats on the carpet?”

    Does one wish to make a bet that your blog posts and comments criticizing Obama far outnumber similar efforts directed at Romney?

    Mike

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  71. john personna says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    I’ve linked to document my claim that real, serious, economists date recoveries from the beginning or bottom of recessions.

    Find one that cares about Presidential term, I dare you.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  72. @john personna:

    I am not saying that it has to start from the start of the Presidential term. Let’s start it from June 2009 when the recession officially ended. It is, however, cooking the books to start counting only from the time when job growth started to turn positive and ignore everything that came before.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 4

  73. john personna says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    I’ve never seen anyone measure jobs recovery from the end of NEBR recession.

    Find a link to convince that isn’t a recent political invention.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  74. bill says:

    @Doug Mataconis: there you go again doug, stating facts! i liked the replies, and the denials are even better.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 7

  75. This isn’t an economics symposium. Again, I am merely pointing out the lack of context that the “4.5 million new jobs” claim has.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 6

  76. David M says:

    Again, I am shocked to discover someone running for re-election is highlighting the parts of their record that look good. Next thing you’ll tell me is that there is an opposition party that only brings up the negative aspects of the incumbents record.

    This claim seems reasonable and defensible, so there’s no reason to challenge the accuracy of the 4.5 million number, and doing so just seems petty. As to whether the 4.5 million number should have been better, that’s definitely a discussion worth having.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  77. john personna says:

    @bill:

    If you think you have the economics, bring the links.

    (You’ll find that NBER themselves measure jobs recovery from the start of the recession.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  78. john personna says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    It has great context, with economic foundation.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  79. LaMont says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    I really love how you choose to include Obama’s name with Bush’s as being irresponsible for that initial round of bailout money.

    Bush gave GM and Chrysler that money which was part of the TARP bailout fund. It had nothing to do with Obama as the funds were given December 2008. And before you include Obama’s name (via some ill-advised attempt to shift some blame for wasting taxpayers money when the inevitable was going to happen anyway) you should stop to think that maybe, just maybe those funds had to run its course before GM and Chrysler could legally file for chapter 11.

    And Oh by the way – they filed for chapter 11 government backed bankruptcy as a condition of the Obama administration only after Obama had refused to continue financing their operations.

    Just thought I’d add a little clarity to your argument.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 1

  80. Tony W says:

    By this reasoning 9/11 was Bush’s fault

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  81. David Lampo says:

    @al-Ameda: And so job growth has to be significantly higher to make a dent. That’s the point.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  82. David Lampo says:

    @David M: I wonder if it’s “petty” to the millions looking for a job.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4

  83. Not Likely says:

    You have to willfully deceive yourself to honestly believe that any private entity was up for backing a traditional GM bankruptcy at the time they were bailed out. Truly a disappointing development from Mr. Mataconis.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  84. David M says:

    @David Lampo:

    Overall job growth has been held back by public sector job losses, things would be quite a bit different if there had been public sector job gains like those during Bush’s first term.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  85. Moderate Mom says:

    @Doug Mataconis: With this crowd, that answer would be a definite “No!”.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

  86. @Not Likely:

    Did you even bother to read this comment?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  87. mantis says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    There’s really no evidence for that assertion

    Like I said, you are distorting history. Either that, or you have completely forgotten what was happening in late 2008.

    even if it were true, then there’s no reason it could not have been done in March or April 2009 when Obama was loaning billions to these companies even though they’d failed to do any serious restructuring after getting money from Washington in December 2008.

    Do you understand the differences between Bush’s approach and Obama’s approach months later? Do you understand the conditions that accompanied the loans this administration provided, compared with the lack thereof under Bush?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  88. MBunge says:

    @Doug Mataconis: “Again, I am merely pointing out the lack of context that the “4.5 million new jobs” claim has.”

    And as we all know, libertarians are famous for their devotion to “context”.

    Mike

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  89. al-Ameda says:

    @David Lampo:

    @al-Ameda: And so job growth has to be significantly higher to make a dent. That’s the point.

    Exactly, the problems are much deeper than in past recessions, that’s what I was saying.

    We came close to the precipice in 2008, and the fact that job creation is anemic comes as no surprise at all. The loss of over 700,000 jobs in the public sector has been a constant drag on the economy, but it was an unavoidable result of the collapse of the housing market and loss of tax revenues to all levels of government.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  90. David Lampo says:

    @al-Ameda: Gee, I’m one of those taxpayers. Can I sell my shares? Are they in my name? I no more own those shares than I do the Yankees.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

  91. Moosebreath says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    “Let’s start it from June 2009 when the recession officially ended.”

    OK, then that gets rid of almost 3.4 million of the job losses under Obama cite. Adding that and the 300,000 net jobs means during Obama’s term means almost 3.7 million jobs created since the end of the recession. Not great, but given how state and local governments were laying off employees in huge numbers unlike any prior recession, not bad, either.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  92. The Q says:

    Brother Doug is getting flamed here and for good reason….he states:

    “4.5 million jobs over 3 years is pretty pathetic”

    Then how would he characterize this stat from FactCheck:

    “During Bush’s eight years in office — January 2001 to January 2009 — the nation actually gained a net 1.09 million jobs”

    So, doug, 1 million jobs in 8 years vs. 4.5 million jobs in 3 years…..and the wingnuts categorize Obummer as destroying capitalism.

    You see, the country will NOT go back to the moronic policies of bush and romney and if the libs ever get their shite together, the election won’t be close

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  93. The Q,

    I have nothing good to say about President Bush. However, it is far beyond time for Obama and his supporters to stop pointing to his predecessor as an excuse for the failures and inadequacies of the 44th President of the United States. They need to man up and accept responsibility for the country that they decided 5 years ago when they started his campaign that they wanted to run.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 5

  94. Moosebreath,

    That kind of job growth doesn’t even keep pace with population growth. And if we kept producing jobs at that rate, it would be somewhere around 2018 or 2019 before we returned to pre-recession employment levels. If we ever did.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  95. Kathy Kattenburg says:

    Chrysler paid back the entire amount of its government loan — six months ahead of schedule. Are you aware of that, Doug?

    Also, may I assume that you are not a “60 Minutes” viewer?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  96. They’ve repaid the DIP financing. That doesn’t account for the pre-Bankruptcy loans.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  97. C. Clavin says:

    “…However, it is far beyond time for Obama and his supporters to stop pointing to his predecessor as an excuse for the failures and inadequacies of the 44th President of the United States…”

    When Bush and Cheney stand up and say; “…9.11 happened on our watch and we are completely at fault…” then you might have a point. Until then you are just another un-paid shill that is totally full of shit.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  98. mantis says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    I have nothing good to say about President Bush. However, it is far beyond time for Obama and his supporters to stop pointing to his predecessor as an excuse for the failures and inadequacies of the 44th President of the United States.

    Amusing that you make this comment in your post about the lack of context. Context is only important, apparently, if it makes Democrats look bad. Got it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

  99. john personna says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Doug, stop being so scummy.

    You assault Obama while retreating from reasonable economic analysis.

    You say “not an economics symposium” before “failures and inadequacies.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  100. David Lampo says:

    @anjin-san: You have GOT to be kidding. Democrats didn’t blame Bush for the recession? That’s all they talked about for the first two years of his administration. Of course it’s silly to blame Obama for this recession and for the same reason. But it is fair game to criticize his policies in dealing with it once he entered office. Some policies can make things better in the short term but add trillions in debt, going for short term gain without worrying about the consequences down the road. By his own benchmarks, he has failed.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 8

  101. john personna says:

    @mantis:

    Note that Doug actually relies on a lack of economic context.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  102. @mantis:

    I know, I know. It is always forbidden to criticize a Democrat. But, when I criticize a Republican, you guys are deliriously happy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 5

  103. David Lampo says:

    @Stonetools: My point? Did you read the post? My point is that most Democrats give Obama a free pass on the economy by constantly pointing out how bad is was when he came in. But they don’t apply the same reasoning to what Bush inherited from Clinton. Got it?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 4

  104. al-Ameda says:

    @David Lampo:

    @al-Ameda: Gee, I’m one of those taxpayers. Can I sell my shares? Are they in my name? I no more own those shares than I do the Yankees.

    I suppose that in-lieu of keeping GM in business by buying preferred and common equities, we could have just let the jobs go and the public in general would have been better served, right?

    The decision to use TARP monies to bailout GM and Chrysler can be debated endlessly – I respect that. However in the context of the collapse that was occurring, I thought then, and I do now, that Bush and Obama were correct in taking the actions that hey did. It was not only Detroit that was in jeopardy, but companies and businesses that serve the wider auto industry. I

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  105. MBunge says:

    @David Lampo: “But they don’t apply the same reasoning to what Bush inherited from Clinton. Got it?”

    Are you saying the recession at the start of the Bush II Administration is AT ALL comparable to the mess left behind for Barack Obama?

    Mike

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  106. LaMont says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    I have nothing good to say about President Bush. However, it is far beyond time for Obama and his supporters to stop pointing to his predecessor as an excuse for the failures and inadequacies of the 44th President of the United States.

    How do you expect “the 44th President” to achieve success when the bulk of the previous administration’s policies are still in effect? What exactly did you expect Obama to achieve with a do-nothing congress hell bent on keeping those same policies? I know you heard of the expression “Those who don’t know their history are doomed to repeat it”

    That kind of job growth doesn’t even keep pace with population growth. And if we kept producing jobs at that rate, it would be somewhere around 2018 or 2019 before we returned to pre-recession employment levels.

    So maybe you should spend more time blogging about how dumb it is to shed public sector jobs during a time in which the counttry is recovering from a recession. All cuts should not be done in the name of reducing the deficit.

    You seem intent on casting blame youself rather than talking about the real issues in context.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  107. al-Ameda says:

    @David Lampo:

    My point? Did you read the post? My point is that most Democrats give Obama a free pass on the economy by constantly pointing out how bad is was when he came in. But they don’t apply the same reasoning to what Bush inherited from Clinton. Got it?

    Come on, there is no equivalence between the tech-bubble recession of 2000-2001 and the economic collapse of 2008.

    That’s like comparing the decision to send troops to Libya, to the decision to send troops to Iraq – there are many qualitative differences.

    Finally, historically, when did the American people stop blaming Hoover for the Great Depression and start blaming FDR for the intractable unemployment? Never.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  108. mantis says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    It is always forbidden to criticize a Democrat.

    That’s your reaction when I point out you like context when it makes Democrats look bad, but decry it when it does not? Pathetic.

    But, when I criticize a Republican, you guys are deliriously happy.

    I don’t know about the others, but you dramatically overstate your effect on me, regardless of what you say.

    FWIW, I agree with you on the need for context. Your problem is you cherry-pick your context and you have a very distorted view of what went down in late 2008.

    I would also note that I’m here defending Bush’s bailout of the auto companies as well as Obama’s. It was the right thing to do. You can pretend it’s a partisan stance if you want, but it isn’t.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  109. @David Lampo:

    Some people have maintained above that Bush faced “small” recessions. I don’t think that’s true. I think the dot-com crash was a significant problem, and I think the Bush and Greenspan responses (in the beginning) were pretty good.

    There is no question though that while significant, the dot-com crash was smaller than the housing bubble. Wikipedia sizes the dot-com losses as:

    The stock market crash of 2000–2002 caused the loss of $5 trillion in the market value of companies from March 2000 to October 2002

    Whereas the global financial crash:

    In early 2007, asset-backed commercial paper conduits, in structured investment vehicles, in auction-rate preferred securities, tender option bonds and variable rate demand notes, had a combined asset size of roughly $2.2 trillion. Assets financed overnight in triparty repo grew to $2.5 trillion. Assets held in hedge funds grew to roughly $1.8 trillion. The combined balance sheets of the then five major investment banks totaled $4 trillion. In comparison, the total assets of the top five bank holding companies in the United States at that point were just over $6 trillion, and total assets of the entire banking system were about $10 trillion.

    Also, importantly, “structurally important” companies failed.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  110. David M says:

    @MBunge:

    To make your point a little differently, GDP growth for 2001 was still 1% with the recession, while it was -3.5% for 2009. Situations with an almost 5% difference in GDP growth probably aren’t comparable.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  111. mantis says:

    @David Lampo:

    Democrats didn’t blame Bush for the recession? That’s all they talked about for the first two years of his administration.

    Really? Did they? They were talking about the post dotcom bubble recession for the first two years of Bush’s presidency? So from January 2001 – January 2003? Really? Please provide evidence of this.

    My guess is you are thinking of Democrats’ criticism of Bush for squandering the budget surplus with tax cuts that blew a gigantic hole in the budget that is still with us.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  112. C. Clavin says:

    Even Romney does not agree with you…talk about a rabid boot-licking sycophant…it’s really kind of embarrassing, Doug.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=ArRj-dQXX3Y

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  113. Actually that was a bad paste.

    Between 1 January and 11 October 2008, owners of stocks in U.S. corporations had suffered about $8 trillion in losses,

    Home Value Loss Reaches $9 Trillion

    There is $17 trillion between stocks and home values. I couldn’t find a more cumulative number.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  114. @Doug Mataconis:

    I’m sure some people take it headline level, but there is always, beneath that, the math.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  115. The Q says:

    “They need to man up and accept responsibility for the country that they decided 5 years ago when they started his campaign that they wanted to run. ”

    In 1936, the GOP could have said, “FDR is a failure. Unemployment is at 14% (It was at 25% four years earlier). ..the GDP is anemic (it was negative four years earlier). The deficit has exploded (yes putting people back to work costs money). Result: biggest landslide ever. No one bought the FDR should stop blaming Hoover bullshit since it was true.

    The stimulus should have been $1.6 trillion to really snap us out of the doldrums, but guess who opposed that? And the raising taxes on the dooshes at the top to cut the deficit. Who fought that?

    The dems are trying to fight the depression with their hands tied by wingnut idiots, who in their last throes of insanity, are trying to foist this nonsense on the public for the THIRD TIME.

    Also, if there are really no differences between the two parties, I hope everyone has gotten a look at the fees their 401k fund managers are charging.

    Obama fought off GOP objections and the Labor Dept. has now made it mandatory to disclose those fees. Many for the first time will actually see how much they are being ripped off in their fall statements.

    And who could have believed the GOP fought this for 10 years?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  116. legion says:

    @David Lampo: You are full of talking points and absolute BS.

    Reps. have offered lots of ideas beyond the let’s-spend-our-way-out-of-this-mess philosophy, which has failed the president’s own benchmarks. Cutting business taxes, not piling on the enormous uncertainty and higher taxes of Obamacare, cutting the minimum wage and other policies to reduce labor costs.

    First of all, that’s a large serving of bald-faced GOP lies. Even business leaders themselves say that uncertainty re: tax rates is not what’s causing them to hesitate. The US economy has stayed in recession primarily because of a lack of demand, and that’s because consumers are full of uncertainty as to whether or not they’re going to have jobs next month. Reducing corporate taxes won’t help that, and reducing the minimum wage will only make things worse – Economics 101, David: you can’t sell things to people who have no money.

    What the president and Congress can do is limited given the huge amount of debt from the housing bust and its effects on the wider economy, but there are other options besides simply piling on more debt, which is really just kicking the can down the road for others to fix.

    Really? Then why does every single “plan” the Republicans have on the table pile on vastly more debt?

    And what Bush policies are you talking about that caused the recession?

    Well, the high-end tax cuts took trillions of $$ out of our revenue stream, and (despite Reagan-era dogma) have not and will never “pay for themselves” with growth. There’s the completely unnecessary and unfunded invasion of Iraq. There’s the systematic refusal to enforce banking regulations that allowed the housing bubble to both grow _and_ burst. There’s the legacy of Alan Greenspan (not strictly Bush’s fault, I admit), who staunchly refused to see the train coming or step off the tracks. Etc., etc., etc.

    the recession was caused by the housing bubble bursting, a function of the Fed’s monetary policies over the course of several years. What’s that got to do with Bush?

    That’s the proximate cause, but the roots have GOP policy written all over them, as noted above.

    Obama claimed he could fix it, and he failed. End of story.

    Purest BS. Obama could have made things better than they are now, if he had been bolder and the GOP in Congress not so fully dedicated to destroying the country just to spite the people that didn’t vote for them, but he inherited an economy that was in absolute free-fall and saved it from completely cratering while the GOP pointed and laughed. They. Did. Nothing. If Obama hadn’t been elected, the US would still be watching the unemployment numbers going up now, instead of being at least stabilized.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  117. C. Clavin says:

    As much as the damage done by Bush…and we are talking about the biggest crisis since the Great Depression after all…is the most obstructionist Republican Caucus in history.
    The fact the there have been private sector jobs added for 29 months is some sort of miracle in itself considering the treasonous sabotage efforts made by Republicans.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

  118. al-Ameda says:

    @john personna:

    There is $17 trillion between stocks and home values. I couldn’t find a more cumulative number.

    I’ve been using $14 Trillion, I didn’t realize that through 2010 the loss to the Housing Market was $9 Trillion. $17 Trillion in household wealth and equity lost, and much of the housing value and equity will not revisit American households for years … if ever.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  119. mantis says:

    It’s hard to save the economy when one party is dedicated to destroying it. As Barney Frank said this week:

    Unfortunately, from the very beginning — look, look at the contrast. George Bush came to us on the Democratic side in late ’08 and said, we’re in a crisis, we need your help — and we gave it to him, very openly, very fully. Then Obama comes in to try to deal with the terrible situation he inherited from Bush and the Republican media went into full partisan attack. Mitch McConnell announcing his number one goal was to defeat the president.

    When the crisis hit at the very end of the Bush presidency, Democrats in Congress worked with the president to do what was needed. When Obama took office in the midst of that same crisis, Republicans in Congress actively tried to prevent anything that could help our economy, hellbent on destroying it and their political opponent at the same time. We are all very lucky there were enough Democrats to keep them from succeeding fully, and the only reason we are talking about weak job growth in the recovery instead of a massive depression is that Republicans failed to drive us into one.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 1

  120. David Lampo says:

    @MBunge: Ok, Mike, you need to go back to the original. You clearly are not interested in the point I was making, which had nothing to do with the severity of the two recessions, but rather who gets blamed for them.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4

  121. The Q says:

    Excellent points Mantis

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  122. mantis says:

    @David Lampo:

    Nobody blames Bush for the dotcom bubble collapsing. They blame Bush for squandering the surplus, pushing massive tax cuts, and blowing up the deficit.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  123. David M says:

    @David Lampo:
    The first recession was from March to November of 2001 and Bush took office in Jan 2001 while the later recession was from Dec 2007 to June 2009 and Obama took office in Jan 2009. It seems obvious that Bush would be much more likely to be blamed for something that started after he had been in office, while Obama was less likely to be blamed for something that began over a year before he took office.

    (Not saying Bush is to blame, just that we should expect him to be blamed much more often.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  124. jan says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    “I know, I know. It is always forbidden to criticize a Democrat. But, when I criticize a Republican, you guys are deliriously happy. “

    You have a very thick skin, Doug.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 7

  125. jan says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    “Chrysler and GM could have filed the same managed bankruptcies, with the same government-backed Debtor-in-Possession financing months earlier, and saved the taxpayers billions of dollars and likely put themselves on the right course sooner. Who knows, maybe Chrysler would’ve ended up being more than just the American brand name of an Italian car company. “

    That kind of economic logic won’t work here, as it takes President Obama out of the limelight of supposedly saving the automotive industry and jobs — a carpet of rose pedals he is running on for reelection. Never mind that such a decision stuck it to stockholders and many car dealerships. After all, there aren’t any ‘unions’ involved in these people’s plights.It’s all about holding out a hand to a constituency who votes for you.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 11

  126. @David Lampo:

    Many blame Greenspan for keeping interest rates too low for two long. I think that is a valid criticism. Somewhere in the mid-2000s the recovery was over and we were facing slow growth for broader (more long term) reasons. The late 2000s tax cuts and low interest rates were a bad answer. They were trying to cure long term problems, at that point, with short term stimulus.

    We may be reaching that point with the credit crisis, but we certainly were not in that condition for the bulk of Obama’s first term. We are barely at the transition, IMO.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  127. Stonetools says:

    @The Q:

    What the Q said. Now THAT’S context -although not the kind Doug is looking for, since the factual context, once again, has a liberal bias.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  128. C. Clavin says:

    Well now Doug…Romney disagrees with you…but Jan doesn’t.
    I think that’s all that needs to be said.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  129. legion says:

    @C. Clavin: Just wait five minutes – Romney will change his mind.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  130. Stonetools says:

    @jan:

    That kind of economic logic won’t work here, as it takes President Obama out of the limelight of supposedly saving the automotive industry and jobs — a carpet of rose pedals he is running on for reelection. Never mind that such a decision stuck it to stockholders and many car dealerships. After all, there aren’t any ‘unions’ involved in these people’s plights.It’s all about holding out a hand to a constituency who votes for you.

    It’s not really logic if there is no possibility of it happening, except in right wing fantasy world. Can Doug name any financial institutions who were ready to step in to provide financing for GM Or Chrysler? Can you help him out, Jan? It’s put up or shut up time.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  131. jan says:

    @Stonetools:

    It’s called a managed kind of bankruptcy where GM would have to reorganize it’s business model, including pensions and wages, which were a major component of GM’s financial problems. Unions would have had to compromise some of their power, instead of telling everyone else to take a long walk off a short pier.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 8

  132. C. Clavin says:

    @ Jan…

    “…Never mind that such a decision stuck it to stockholders and many car dealerships…”

    No – never mind that a few unfortunate entities went south…particularly stock-holders with large margins forced to sell or dealerships that were leveraged to unsustainable levels…rather than the entire Auto Industry and the entire downstream supply network with it.
    The problem with people like you who cut and paste your opinions from extremist ideologues is that you never ever understand the entire picture…you only cherry pick what you want from what they cherry picked to support their extremist viewpoint..and your base your strongly held convictions on this mis-information.

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  133. James says:

    You’ve got to understand the kind of strain Doug is under here. He has to know, on some level, that he is responsible for the mess we are in. Not directly but by giving support to and voting for those who have put the economic policy that this country has suffered from he bears some responsibility.

    For the last several decades are government has largely been run by his kind of people and they have gotten their way. Among other things, they have dismantled the unions, destroyed the safety net, and the minimum wage has the same buying power it did nearly twenty years ago.

    Free market people, like Doug, have gotten largely what they wanted in terms of policy but not in terms of outcome. U.S. household wage growth has been stagnant, our social mobility has dropped, and those at the top, the “job creators” have taken their largess and asked for more.

    Now you have a president and congress come in and, while off to a slow start, are fixing things using economics that are the opposite of what Doug has put all of his faith in. The compiled failure of his policies and the success of the “other” policies must be like someone told him that Santa Claus isn’t real. He has to nitpick and lie because it is either that or admit that he’s been wrong his whole life.

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  134. David M says:

    @jan:

    It’s called a managed kind of bankruptcy where GM would have to reorganize it’s business model, including pensions and wages, which were a major component of GM’s financial problems. Unions would have had to compromise some of their power

    You mean the Chapter 11 reorganization GM went through that included concessions from the unions on wages and pensions?

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  135. C. Clavin says:

    @ Jan…
    Actually I have seen interviews with the guy from Fiat running Chrysler and he says that the Unions have been very cooperative and were not the problem…the problem was the white collar hierarchy that was unable to adapt and evolve with the times. Once he cleared out the upper floors things have been going well for Chrysler.
    You might also have heard Deval Patrick talk last night about how having Unions at the table has helped move Mass from the economic mess that Romney left to where they are now.
    This whole anti-union jag you get on is just another form of rank bigotry.
    Unions built this country…and they built the middle class. Republicans just want to get rid of them in their race to the bottom…to be just like China.

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  136. bill says:

    @john personna: i stopped searching for links for online freaks years ago- google works for all. accept the facts instead of cherry picking what makes you happy. figure if cnn is calling this number a sham (and they’ve never been known to be “conservative” by any means) then they’re probably right- somehow he needs to own his presidency. google “disma”l and there’s a chart of obama’s reign!

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  137. john personna says:

    @bill:

    Go back and read Steven’s thread on how to argue, and when to link expert opinion.

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  138. Barry says:

    @James: “You’ve got to understand the kind of strain Doug is under here. He has to know, on some level, that he is responsible for the mess we are in. Not directly but by giving support to and voting for those who have put the economic policy that this country has suffered from he bears some responsibility.”

    Oh, Doug does. It’s important to remember that he’s a lawyer, and is arguing a very adversarial and partisan case.

    Doug, I’ll be happy to put your boy’s Dubya’s record against Obama’s, any day, any time.

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  139. Barry says:

    @Doug Mataconis: “General Motors (and Chrysler) did go into bankruptcy. The billions of dollars in loans that Presidents Bush and Obama gave them failed to revive the companies. ”

    Here you are flat-out lying, Doug. Those two companies are actually functional. They went through bankruptcy (and the bailouts were for that), and are operational.

    As for preventing bankruptcy, please look at what you and yours did in the past decade.

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  140. jukeboxgrad says:

    mark:

    The democratic senate and house setup the far reaching housing loan policies that Bush tried to head off. It is documented in every presidential budget he submitted to congress. If we did not give loans to those that didn’t deserve them we wouldn’t have had a bubble and at most we would have had a very minor stock correction. Look at the source of the issues and don’t let your political glasses stare at “Bush”.

    You must be thinking of the “housing loan policies that Bush tried to head off” by making statements like this (audio):

    More and more people own their own homes in America today. Two thirds of all Americans own their homes, but we have a problem because fewer than half of the Hispanics and fewer than half of the African Americans own their home. That’s a home ownership gap, a gap we have to work together to close. By the end of this decade we will increase the number of minority homeowners by at least 5 and ½ million families. And of course one of the larger obstacles to minority home ownership is financing. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have committed to provide more money for lenders, they have committed to help meet the shortage of capital for minority homebuyers. Freddie Mac recently began 25 initiatives around the country to dismantle barriers and create greater opportunities for home ownership. One of the programs is designed to help deserving families with bad credit histories to qualify for home ownership loans. You don’t have to have a lousy home for first time homebuyers. You put your mind to it, the low income homebuyer can have just as nice a house as anybody else.

    And this:

    Nearly 70 percent of Americans enjoy the satisfaction of owning their own home, and my Administration continues to promote an ownership society where the promise of America reaches all our citizens. The American Dream Downpayment Act of 2003 is helping thousands of low to moderate income and minority families with downpayment and closing costs, which represent the greatest barrier to homeownership. Since 2002, when I announced our goal to help 5.5 million minorities become homeowners by the end of this decade, the rate of minority homeownership has climbed above 50 percent, and more than 2.5 million minority families have become new homeowners. My Administration will continue to provide counseling and assistance for new homebuyers and expand homeownership opportunities for all Americans.

    I guess Bush made those statements to show that he understood that we should “not give loans to those that didn’t deserve them.” That must be why he said we should help “families with bad credit histories to qualify for home ownership loans.”

    Anyway, “Bush tried” so hard that his efforts inspired Sen. Chris Bond (R) to say this (4/08):

    Homeownership appears to be a bigger priority in the administration than affordability and foreclosure… I think the emphasis on homeownership helped to drive the foreclosure crisis we’re now in. . . . All these wonderful ideas . . . didn’t do them any good when we put them in housing they couldn’t afford.

    Thanks for yet another example of how Republicans live in an alternate universe. Or maybe just suffer from chronic amnesia.

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  141. Again, the two ways I’ve seen real economists do it are:

    Aligned with start of recession.

    Aligned with bottom of jobs losses.

    I am seeing the newspapers today saying that end-of-recession would be “fairer” but I’ve never seen that in use, anywhere. The full set of CR graphs, with many views, are here.

    If you want to convince me that economists compare recessions using “jobs recovered since end of recession,” all you’ve got to do is find me a link in use before today.

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  142. Eugene says:

    @EddieInCA: Don’t blame the Bush Administration when the democrats controlled both houses of congress all of Bush’s 2nd term. Nancy and the democrats inthe House of Representatives controlled the purse strings for all that spending in Bush’s 2nd term. Yes, it was the democrats!

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  143. David M says:

    @Eugene: Bush was re-elected in 2004 and the Dems took over Congress in 2006. Most things people blame Bush for occurred before 2007, and were passed by Republicans.

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  144. mantis says:

    @Eugene:

    Don’t blame the Bush Administration when the democrats controlled both houses of congress all of Bush’s 2nd term.

    Why do wingnuts get every historical fact wrong? Eugene, the Republicans held both houses for the first two years of Bush’s last term. It was not until the 2006 elections that Democrats took both houses, though their grasp of the Senate was slight, with only 49 Democrats plus two independents caucusing with them. And it wasn’t their legislation that led to the financial collapse in any way.

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  145. An Interested Party says:

    During the Reagan and Clinton recoveries, we *averaged* 300,000 jobs per month.

    But, after four years, you’d think we’d be doing better than this.

    Indeed we would if we didn’t have to deal with the significant cuts in public sector employment that neither Reagan nor Clinton had to worry about…

    Finally, historically, when did the American people stop blaming Hoover for the Great Depression and start blaming FDR for the intractable unemployment? Never.

    This is the heart of the matter right here…people didn’t blame FDR because the economic collapse was not his fault at all…just like the current economic mess isn’t the President’s fault…but when you have Doug telling us on another thread that the current economic mess isn’t Bush’s fault at all, it any wonder he writes posts like this one…

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  146. jukeboxgrad says:

    eugene:

    Yes, it was the democrats!

    You must be thinking of “democrats” like Paul Ryan. GWB exploded the debt with the complete support of Paul Ryan, whose reputation as an alleged deficit hawk is a total fraud. Ryan voted to support GWB every single time GWB wrote a huge check that was unfunded. Which is why one conservative said this months ago, in response to the idea that Ryan should run for POTUS:

    What many people don’t know, but will find out if Ryan were crazy enough to run, is that he has not been a very good fiscal conservative in the past. The only reason that I can see why Ryan is being touted as the acceptable alternative is that no one is paying any attention to the rest of his record. … [Ryan] supported adding significantly to the government’s long-term liabilities without making any effort to pay for them, and now he is supposed to be the voice of fiscal sanity? On the two biggest, most controversial votes of the last decade relating to the financial sector and entitlements, Ryan was on the wrong side, and if they are at all serious about fiscal responsibility many, perhaps most, conservatives would hold these votes against him if he ran.

    Ryan is a phony, just like Mitt. Both perfect candidates for Republicans like you who make false statements regarding the simplest historical facts.

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  147. Herb says:

    @jan:

    “You have a very thick skin, Doug.”

    Uh….no he doesn’t.

    Remember that time Chris Hayes ruined his Veteran’s Day?

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  148. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Doug Mataconis: So then, you are being disengenuous by conflating what happened (reorganization) to what the GOP advocated (liquidation)?

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  149. gVOR08 says:

    @john personna: I agree and I’d like to add two comments.

    One, I have a rule. It says that if there is a normal way of looking at something, say defining tax progressivity by looking at marginal rates; and someone comes up with a non-standard way to look at it, say percent of taxes paid by the top 1%, unless there is some clear deficiency in the normal approach, the person with the novel way of looking at it is almost certainly lying.

    Two, hasn’t everyone figured out that our “official” definition of recession is a pretty silly way to define it? If we get to a quarter with 0.000% growth, the recession is officially over. And apparently Obama is then supposed to be able to conjure jobs out of thin air.

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  150. David Lampo says:

    Your hubris is astounding. Someone has a different perspective that you think is “normal,” and he is not just mistaken, he’s lying. Because you define what “normal” is. Such tolerance.

    No one says or believes “Obama is then supposed to be able to conjure jobs out of thin air.”
    We in fact place far too much faith in the cult of the presidency when there really is a quite limited amount he can do in the face of such a large recession, as Obama himself has noted. But his policies can help or hurt around the margins, so they are properly analyzed and discussed, even by those who you may disagree with. Here’s what Glenn Kessler, who you all loved when he questioned some of Ryan’s recent statements, said in this morning’s WP:

    ” According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job creation in Obama’s presidency is plus or minus a few hundred thousand jobs, depending on whether you date his presidency from January or February. At this point, Obama is on track to have the worst jobs record of any president since World War II.”

    But of course, CNN, Doug, and now Kessler are all rightwing syncophants (or liars).

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  151. @David Lampo:

    Your hubris is astounding. Someone has a different perspective that you think is “normal,” and he is not just mistaken, he’s lying. Because you define what “normal” is. Such tolerance.

    That’s the wrong way to argue on the internets. You just insist, without link or expertise of your own, that any link or expertise is wrong.

    How the heck would anyone learn any truth with that attitude?

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  152. @David Lampo:

    If you want to take CNN’s actual bottom line, it was:

    Conclusion: The figure of 4.5 million jobs is accurate if you look at the most favorable period and category for the administration. But overall, there are still fewer people working now than when Obama took office at the height of the recession.

    That was a “true, but” rating, not a “false” rating at all. So:

    1) you are arguing that the “but” is more important than the “true”
    2) we are arguing that the “but” is on weak economic foundation

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  153. bill says:

    @john personna: where’s the link!?

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  154. David G. says:

    @al-Ameda:

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  155. David G. says:

    @al-Ameda: GM did claim bankruptcy right after the Government bailed them out and became the majority stock holder. Romney would have allowed them to claim bankruptcy the right way and GM would have been better off today then they are now. And BTW, in a year or 2 GM will need another bailout or face bankruptcy again. Obama did nothing but save some uncompetitive union jobs temporarily. Maybe with a little research you’ll stop drinking the Kool-Aid.

    http://beforeitsnews.com/opinion-conservative/2012/09/the-cold-hard-truth-about-the-gm-and-chrysler-bailouts-that-the-obama-administration-doesnt-want-you-to-know-2476030.html

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/louiswoodhill/2012/08/15/general-motors-is-headed-for-bankruptcy-again/

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