Obama Claims Country Better Off Today?

Obama claims the country is better off?  Uh, what? Last week President Obama told a small group of wealthy donors that by almost every metric, the U.S. is significantly better off under his leadership than under Bush’s. Oh dear God this is just getting embarrassing! Can we please have a little reality check here?



The most basic metric for how well the country is doing is median household income – are families making more today than in years past?  Errrr, not so fast there Mr. President. As the chart below shows (the red line) we are still well below we were when you took office… and that is despite the massive amount of government spending and monetary policy stimulus! Or perhaps, this is in fact because of all that insanity? In fact, median household income, after taking inflation into account, is where it was back in 1989, twenty-six years ago!

2015-07 Median Household Income


One of the reason household income is so low is that despite the often touted “unemployment rate” the more important number, the percentage of people in the country actually working is down to levels not seen since the early 80s and well below the ratio during George W Bush’s Presidency.

2015-07 Employment Population Ratio

On top of that, 2.2 million Americans are in part-time jobs who want to work full time, still far above the level at the start of the recession and during George W’s entire Presidency.

2015-07 Part-time for economic reasons


So people are making less and fewer people are working… what about the debt burden on those who do have jobs?  When Obama took office, the total Federal Debt was 10.7 trillion. Today it is over 18 trillion and expected to be well over 19 trillion by the time he leaves office.  That’s more than an 80% increase in the debt burden shouldered by the American people in just 8 years, nearly doubling!

2015-07 US Total Public Debt

This has also been the weakest economic recovery in the nation’s history. For the first time ever, U.S. GDP has contracted twice since the recovery and on an annual basis remains well below historical norms. Normally after a recession, we experience a period of above average growth which helps repair the damage experienced during the recession.  Not only did we never get that above average growth, but the economy continues to stumble along at very weak levels.

Just exactly what is it that you are looking at Mr. President?  As the “most transparent Administration in history,” (snort, chuckle, eye roll) how about if you show us?


About the Author

Lenore Hawkins, Chief Macro Strategist
Lenore Hawkins serves as the Chief Macro Strategist for Tematica Research. With over 20 years of experience in finance, strategic planning, risk management, asset valuation and operations optimization, her focus is primarily on macroeconomic influences and identification of those long-term themes that create investing headwinds or tailwinds.

6 thoughts on “Obama Claims Country Better Off Today?

  1. John Wake - July 27, 2015 at 7:56 pm

    As a fellow economics geek, I love what you’ve done here. Succinct. Convincing. Well done!

  2. alanstorm - July 27, 2015 at 9:12 pm

    “Can we please have a little reality check here?”

    From the Obama administration? From those with a tenuous – at best – grasp of reality?

    From those who believe that politics can repeal the laws of physics and economics?

    Not holding my breath.

  3. Dave K - July 28, 2015 at 9:22 am

    Imagine what the “recovery” would have been like without The Fed QEing for what, over five years?

    Obama and his “If I say it’s so, it’s so” assertions are vomit worthy. Such a crock. I have sat through maybe ten minutes of his press releases, press conferences, etc since he has been in office because of statements like this are blatant BS.

    I literally can’t stand the sound of this liar’s voice. 2 minute snippet on the news? I usually just get up, go outside and smoke my pipe.

  4. Jimmy - July 28, 2015 at 8:40 pm

    A little perspective on these numbers.
    Starting the clock from when Obama “took office” is not a very realistic starting point.
    Should the economic numbers have improved the minute he took office?

    That doesn’t really make sense, especially since he took office in the middle of the Bush recession.
    People seem to not remember the disastrous state of the economy when Bush left office.

    So if you start the clock let’s say one year after Obama took office, to be fair, the numbers are all improving since then.

  5. Dennis Maher - July 29, 2015 at 4:56 am

    Hey folks, put the emotion aside and take a deep breath. Then read a few books by economists. Many of them do not make the conclusions Elle and others have made here. The reality is that the “recession” was a complete bust of Wall St and the big banks, as well as AIG. The ~750 billion from the government brought balance to the system, preventing “the whole sucker’s goin’ down,” as Bush said. Probably several trillion in housing value disappeared. All of this happened while the economy was undergoing rapid changes in response to the electronic revolution and globalization. The latter gave conservative business types reason to move millions of jobs overseas. The Congress would not let Obama spend another 750B in infrastructure investment, which would have created some jobs. But probably not enough. What no one will tell you is that the jobs that used to be aren’t ever coming back. There will only be new jobs created by new technologies and the paradigm shift from coal and oil to solar and wind. Meanwhile the 401k and pension investments are safe. And the banksters still aren’t in jail, and Glass-Steagal is still repealed, allowing the next bank scam and threat to the nation.

    • Elle - July 31, 2015 at 1:50 pm

      Dear Dennis – Thanks for your comments. You’ve brought up some issues I’d like to address and will shortly in another blog post. For now, if you are interested, I’d like to hear your thoughts on this post. http://wp.me/p5S0Ul-1c