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The “If” President

- April 3, 2012

Obama Talks About Where The Unemployment Rate Would Be “If…If…If” Only His Policies Had Worked

OBAMA LAYS OUT WHERE HIS POLICIES FELL SHORT AND HOW GREAT THINGS WOULD BE “IF” THEY HAD WORKED

President Barack Obama: “It can be done. One last point I want to make, that I think is important because it goes to the growth issue -- if state and local government hiring were basically on par to what our current recovery --  on par to past recoveries, the unemployment rate would probably be about a point lower than it is right now. If the construction industry were going through what we normally go through, that would be another point lower. The challenge we have right now, part of the challenge we have in terms of growth, has to do with very specific issues of huge cuts in state and local governments, and the housing market still recovering from this massive bubble. And those two things are huge headwinds in terms of growth. I say this because if we put some of those construction workers back to work, or we put some of those teachers back in the classroom, that could actually help create the kind of virtuous cycle that would bring in more revenues, just because of economic growth, would benefit the private sector in significant ways, and could help contribute to deficit reduction in the short term, even as we still have to do these important changes to our health care programs over the long term.” (President Barack Obama, Remarks At The American Society Of News Editors, Washington, D.C., 4/3/12)

OBAMA’S “RECOVERY” IS THE WORST SINCE THE GREAT DEPRESSION

31 Out Of 36 Economists Rated Obama’s Policies “Fair” Or “Poor” And “None Rated Him As ‘Excellent.’” “Half of the 36 economists who responded to the Dec. 14-20 AP survey rated Obama's economic policies ‘fair.’ And 13 called them ‘poor.’ Just five of the economists gave the president ‘good’ marks. None rated him as ‘excellent.’” (Paul Wiseman and Derek Kravitz, “Economists: Obama’s Policies ‘Fair’ Or ‘Poor’,” The Associated Press, 12/28/11)

The Economy Remains In “By Far The Worst Jobs Recovery Since The Great Depression.” “Even with the recent gains, this is also by far the worst jobs recovery since the Great Depression, and the U.S. still has about 5.5 million fewer jobs than it did before the recession began in December 2007.” (Editorial, “The January Jobs Thaw,” The Wall Street Journal, 2/4/12)

  • “Our Economy Remains Deeply Depressed… Even At January’s Pace Of Job Creation It Would Take Us Until 2019 To Return To Full Employment.” “That said, our economy remains deeply depressed. As the Economic Policy Institute points out, we started 2012 with fewer workers employed than in January 2001 — zero growth after 11 years, even as the population, and therefore the number of jobs we needed, grew steadily. The institute estimates that even at January’s pace of job creation it would take us until 2019 to return to full employment.” (Paul Krugman, Op-Ed, “Things Are Not O.K.,” The New York Times, 2/5/12)
  • The Unemployment Rate Would Be A Point Higher If It Counted The Thousands Who Have Given Up Looking For Work.  “A major reason that the jobless rate has gone from 9.9 percent to 8.5 percent in the past two years is that many thousands of people have given up looking for work. If the workers who dropped out were counted as unemployed, the jobless rate would be a full point higher, said Heidi Shierholz, an economist at the liberal-leaning Economic Policy Institute.” (Michael Fletcher, “Falling Jobless Rate Is Good News For Obama,” The Washington Post, 1/6/11)

Congressional Budget Office: Unemployment Has Remained Above Eight Percent For The Longest Stretch Since The Great Depression. “The rate of unemployment in the United States has exceeded 8 percent since February 2009, making the past three years the longest stretch of high unemployment in this country since the Great Depression.” (“Understanding And Responding To Persistently High Unemployment,” Congressional Budget Office, 2/16/12)

  • Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke: Levels Of Long-Term Unemployment Remain “Far Outside The Range Of Experience Since World War II.” “Although most spells of unemployment are disruptive or costly, the persistently high rate of long-term unemployment we have seen over the past three years or so is especially concerning.  In this episode, both the median and average durations of unemployment have reached levels far outside the range of experience since World War II.  And the share of unemployment that represents spells lasting more than six months has been higher than 40 percent since December 2009.  By way of comparison, the share of unemployment that was long term in nature never exceeded 25 percent or so in the severe 1981-82 recession.”  (Ben Bernanke, Prepared Remarks For Delivery Before The National Association For Business Economics Annual Conference, Washington, D.C., 3/26/12)

OBAMA ADMITS HIS ATTEMPTS TO FIX THE HOUSING MARKET HAVE FAILED

“This Summer At The White House, Obama Offered A Rare Acknowledgment That His Response To The Housing Crisis Had Fallen Short.” (Zachary A. Goldfarb, “Obama’s Efforts To Aid Homeowners, Boost Housing Market Fall Far Short Of Goals,” The Washington Post, 10/23/11) 

  • Obama Said That Housing Has Been The “Most Stubborn In Us Trying To Solve The Problem.” OBAMA: “We’ve had to revamp our housing program several times to try to help people stay in their homes and try to start lifting home values up.  But of all the things we’ve done, that’s probably been the area that’s been most stubborn to us trying to solve the problem.” (President Barack Obama, Twitter Town Hall, Washington, D.C., 7/6/11)
  • President Obama Said “I’ll Be Honest With You, [Housing] Is Probably The Biggest Drag On The Economy Right Now.” OBAMA: “Well, it’s a good question.  And I’ll be honest with you, this is probably the biggest drag on the economy right now that we have -- along with I know the frustrations people have about gas prices.  What we’ve really seen is the housing market, which was a bubble, had greatly over-inflated in all regions of the country.  And I know I probably don't get a lot of sympathy about that here because I can only imagine what rents and mortgages you guys are paying.” (President Barack Obama, Remarks By The President At A Facebook Town Hall, Palo Alto, CA, 4/20/11)

Treasury Secretary Geithner: “But Our Programs Have Dramatically Underperformed What We Thought. … We Are Very Disappointed And Frustrated By It And We Have A Lot Of Challenges Ahead.” (Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, Committee On Financial Services, U.S. House Of Representatives,Testimony, 10/6/11)


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