Obama U.S. Economic Recovery was America’s Weakest

Eric Zuesse

The following graph of “Non-farm Payroll Jobs in United States” shows America’s economic recoveries from recession, in numbers of jobs, and indicates very clearly that ever since the peak in 2000, the two recoveries (G.W. Bush, and Obama) have been far less than before; they were only 4% during the G.W. Bush recovery from the Clinton dot-com crash, and 3% during the Obama recovery from the G.W. Bush real-estate crash. This compares with a far higher 21% gain following the G.H.W. Bush slump, and a 19% gain after the prior, the Carter, post-Vietnam-War crash. Both Reagan and Clinton had better results than did Obama.

ScreenXShotX2017-07-18XatX6.50.57XPM

The opposite side of this coin is the greatly increased sluggishness of the two post-2000 recoveries, especially Obama’s:

ScreenXShotX2017-07-18XatX6.55.13XPM

This has been a summary of an excellent 15 March 2017 article by Ryan McMacken at the libertarian von Mises Institute blog, titled “The ‘We’ve Created Millions of Jobs’ Myth”.

McMacken, being a libertarian, wasn’t interested in what types of “jobs” those were, or the pay of those “jobs” (because libertarians are uninterested in the distributions of income, and of wealth — or of anything, including “jobs”). However, as has been well-publicized, the distribution, of both wealth and income, has become far more heavily skewed toward the high end after 2000 than it was prior, and the U.S. economy has been hollowed-out so that wages are now flat or going down in the post-2000 U.S. economy, and economic opportunity for people in the lower half is declining, while economic opportunity for the top 5% has been soaring. (Maybe we’ll end up with a world in which there are a few trillionaires, plus millions of robots, and billions of impoverished people who survive as zombies.) A progressive prefers equality of opportunity, and so is disturbed by such gross inequalities, which vastly exceed any natural differences, but a libertarian ignores inequity and simply trusts in the ‘justice’ of “the market.” However, at the time when America’s economy was at its peak, both in growth and in distributional equity, which was 1975-1980, the U.S. economy was much more resilient, and more able to recover quickly from slumps, than it has since become. There is a positive association between equity and growth in economics (they increase together, as shown here and here), even though libertarians ignore it and often go so far as to assume a negative correlation between equity and growth (thereby ‘justifying’ their obsession with only growth). The post-2000 governmental money-funnel, from the masses to the classes, has actually stifled not promoted economic growth in the U.S., just as those studies (the “here and here”) indicate has happened throughout the world. That’s empirical economic data (worldwide, not just in the U.S.). But economic theory — upon which libertarianism is based — ignores such data, because these data are inconvenient for the theory. Data that disprove the aristocracy’s ideology — that disprove that a person’s worthiness is measured by his or her net worth (wealth or poverty), and that therefore disprove that the most effective way to increase per-capita GDP or a nation’s economic success is to treat everybody’s dollars as being equal in terms of personal welfare and not only in terms of interpersonal trade; i.e., that disprove that the interpersonal distribution of wealth does not matter and has no effect on or does not affect the nation’s per-capita GDP — such economic data have no impact on, and do not significantly extent affect, economic theory. A new book, Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America, has just been published by historian Nancy MacLean and is summarized by columnist George Monbiot in the July 19th Guardian; it describes the rape (or prostitution, at least) by American billionaires after World War II, of the economics profession, and of the Nobel prizes in economics, so as to keep economic theory this way (which it has actually been ever since at least the 1700s, “laissez faire”).

Anyway, since 2000, both growth and its distribution have performed poorly in the U.S., and this has been a bipartisan, Republican and Democratic Party, economic failure.

—————

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

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  • WillDippel

    As shown in this article, the Federal Reserve is growing increasingly concerned about the unexpected repercussions of its monetary policies:

    https://viableopposition.blogspot.ca/2017/07/the-repercussions-of-federal-reserves.html

    One would think that they would have learned from their experiences with low interest rates and the bubble created in the American housing market during the early 2000s but, apparently, some lessons are harder learned than others.

  • ICFubar

    Question: Why do bankers get up in the morning?
    Answer: To push debt as the means to their profit.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KIaXVntqlUE

  • Zartan

    The obama recovery intention was to short sell Americans. He gave Trillions away in welfare packages to the RICH and nobody said a Word. There were no legal requirements built into his stimulus package to direct money given to corporations to work projects, which stimulate the economy. Corporations simply laid people off and bought their own stock. In short, Obama stole money from the US treasury ( Trillions) and gave it to his friends.

  • cityspeak

    And everyone wonders how we ended up with the flim flam man Trump?

    Besides Obama’s betrayal on the economic front and his international record of sowing destruction, while winning a peace prize and being presented as a”community organizer”, was enough for people to flee the Dismal Dollar Dems brand in droves.

    • Jeanjgriffin


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    • That and Hillary’s plan to continue where Obama left off. Hell, she was running on creating a no fly zone over Syria which would have needed 70,000 US troops on the ground to make it work. The left once voted for Obama because of her Iraq war vote, and now they were going to vote for her despite what she running on.

      Even after she told people that universal health care will never, ever happen. The difference between her and Bernie was staggering, yet people were going to vote for the status quo instead of what Bernie was offering.

      • Army of Addicts

        ‘Living a rich intellectual life’ is newspeak for ‘brainwashed’.

  • Odayrawa

    thanks for this great post
    اطفال الانابيب

    • Kimfhall


      Google is paying 97$ per hour! Work for few hours and have longer with friends & family! !pa332d:
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      • cettel

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  • david fisher

    I’m not quite sure why the author turned his article into a rant against liberterians. First of all, he’s factually incorrect that Liberterians are ” wasn’t interested in what types of “jobs” those were, or the pay of those “jobs” (because libertarians are uninterested in the distributions of income, and of wealth — or of anything, including “jobs”).” I’m not quite sure where he gets this idea, but it is factually incorrect.

    Secondly, he is also incorrect in calling Ryan McMacken a Liberterian. He is not, he’s an Austrian school economist…quite a difference. In fact, the von Mises institute is dedicated to Austrian school economics, not liberterianism.

    Finally, real wages have been falling since the 1970s… so this magical 1975-1980 recovery really wasn’t much of a recovery either in terms of wage growth. Any wage growth happened due to extremely high inflation rates prevalent in that timeframe, thus wage growth declines due to the wiping out of parity purchasing power.

  • Army of Addicts

    Has anyone seen this in depth study by USAToday of trucking companies in L.A.?
    https://www.usatoday.com/pages/interactives/news/rigged-forced-into-debt-worked-past-exhaustion-left-with-nothing/

  • Please. You can’t discuss Obama’s failings without considering what was beyond his control, to wit, a Congress in full opposition to everything he wanted to do. And to the extent the ACA is a failure it’s because of the price Obama was forced to pay to get it.
    I don’t intend to defend Obama, just want to see blame placed on all of the deserving.