He Kept Us Out of a Depression

The President's remarks today on the one year anniversary of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

I'm not sure if "He Kept Us Out of a Depression" is a winning campaign slogan but it's true.

Tags: American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, US Economy, Obama Administration (all tags)

Comments

34 Comments

That will be for the history books

I've heard conflicting opinions on whether Obama camapigns or governs from the WH.

The stimulus, in my opinion, contradicts the notion that this is a President who is stuck in campaign mode and cannot govern.

Obama almost quietly saving America from a Second Great Depression will be for the History books. Hindsight will help gain perspective of just how close to financial ruin we were, and just how heroic his actions were.

I still would have liked to have seen better political messaging with the stimulus, if such is even possible.

by NoFortunateSon 2010-02-17 12:52PM | 1 recs
See Brown

This is basically the same argument that Brown is trying to make in the UK. Its hard to say it works though, given the lack of across the board economic pick up.

by Jerome Armstrong 2010-02-17 01:29PM | 0 recs
Well

as Barney Frank has noted, no one has ever gotten re-elected using the argument that it could have been worse.

Abatement is one thing, but the electorate expects a fix.

by Charles Lemos 2010-02-17 04:26PM | 0 recs
Reagan sorta did

His "Are you better off now than you were four years ago" rang as almost "This could've be worse"

For many people who voted for him, the answer to that question was "no, we aren't better off in 1984 then we were in 1980" but they voted for him anyway, because they were certainly better off in 1984 than they were in 1982.

 

 

by ND22 2010-02-17 08:12PM | 0 recs
RE: Reagan sorta did

Reagan's question was posed during his debate with Jimmy Carter in 1980. 

by Charles Lemos 2010-02-17 08:30PM | 0 recs
This actually happened in 1980

President Reagan actually asked the question during the 1980 campaign, as he debated Jimmy Carter. It was a very skillful attempt by the Gipper to use the "misery index"---something Carter had used in defeating Gerald Ford---against Carter four years later. The misery index is the sum of unemployment and inflation, and was first devised by economist Arthur Okun.

Although it had averaged 14.93 under Ford, it then spiked to 20.27 under Carter, leaving him wide open to be savaged in the debate by Reagan.....who used typical understatement in quietly asking the devastating question, "are you better off now than you were four years ago?" To your point, Reagan was actually fine when he ran in 1984, as the the misery index for his time in office averaged 11.19, almost half of Carter's average.

 

by BJJ Fighter 2010-02-18 12:02AM | 0 recs
RE: Reagan sorta did

And let's not forget Bush II, the unemployment rate in 2001 was 4.7% (it was 4.0% in 2000 when Bush was *ahem* "elected") but was 5.5% in 2004, down slightly from it's high in 2003.

by vecky 2010-02-18 01:46AM | 0 recs
RE: Reagan sorta did

Is there a point here? I thought we were talking about a remark President Reagan made back during the 1980 campaign.....not sure how George W. Bush relates to the discussion.

 

by BJJ Fighter 2010-02-18 10:22PM | 0 recs
RE: Reagan sorta did

A more current example that seems more relavent than having to reach back to events 25-30 years ago?

The overall point seems to be that the public votes more along the perception of "getting better" rather than "are better". Atleast that is what ND22 was saying.

by vecky 2010-02-18 10:28PM | 0 recs
RE: Reagan sorta did

Basically, I think you were just trying to help your buddy nd, who was stumbling over dates and seemed confused....something you're all too familiar with. But in one sentence about George W. Bush, you go from 2001 to 2000, then on to 2004, before finishing up in 2003....I'm sure if you read it again now, even you yourself couldn't follow it. It's unclear what your point is.

 

by BJJ Fighter 2010-02-18 11:58PM | 0 recs
RE: Reagan sorta did

it's a quite simple chronology. The Unemployment rate in 2000 was 4%, increasing to 4.7 in 2001, 6% in 2003 and 5.5% in 2004. So while the economic conditions at the time of Bus's re-election camapaign were not as good as they had been when he was elected or took office, they were on a downward trajectory from the previous year.

Simple. As you say "even a 10 year old...." I still believe I actually had to explain it.

by vecky 2010-02-19 12:41AM | 0 recs
RE: Reagan sorta did

But all you're doing is reciting economic statistics, which most people are aware of. It's unclear what point you're trying to make, or if there even is one. If there are two things you do well, they're (a) rambling, and (b) gobblygook.

As to the 10-yr. old bit, why don't you try to be original for a change, and come up with your own snark?

 

by BJJ Fighter 2010-02-19 11:59AM | 0 recs
RE: Reagan sorta did

*shrug* It's a simple point. I've repeated it a couple of times already.

If you want more snark, I don't you adding "lack of reading comprehension" to your "disconnection from reality" is particularly helpfull. ;)

by vecky 2010-02-21 03:09PM | 0 recs
What the hell is your point?

Lionizing Ronald Regan?

The man whose economic policies brought us to the brink of a second depression?

If the election of Barack Obama was one thing and one thing only, it was taking a hot, bitter piss on the grave of Ronald Regan.

by NoFortunateSon 2010-02-22 10:29PM | 0 recs
You must not know what "depression" means

It's pretty silly to say that President Reagan's economic policies brought us to the brink of a depression, when the opposite is true. Did you even know that 17 million jobs were created between 1981 and 1989? I didn't think so.

Obviously, liberals never want to talk about the major, "bread and butter" economic metrics of the Reagan years--unemployment (7.6% in 1981, 5.5% in 1989), or inflation (13.5% in 1981, 4.1% in 1989). Or maybe interest rates? 18.9% in 1981, 8.2% in 1989. During his two terms, the economy added 17 million new jobs......which I'm sure liberals will criticize as "low quality jobs". You guys are nothing if not predictable.

Things were so horrible, it really does make you wonder how the President carried 49 states in 1984!

You all can attack President Reagan all you want, and blame everything bad that happens on George W. Bush. But it's time for Obama---and all who supported him---to own his failures. Your crying about "hypocrisy on the right" reminds me of a column I read the other day by Paul Krugman, where he whined that "our political culture....and the filibuster" had made the country "ungovernable".  Similarly, when Carter failed years ago, we heard that the job was "just too big for one man".

Well guess what? Filibusters and special interests have been around a long time---deal with it. Working with Congressional leaders of both parties in 1986 (Tip O'Neill, Bill Bradley, Bob Packwood, Dan Rostenkowski, Dick Gephardt), President Reagan achieved Tax Reform that most observers considered impossible, due to the entrenched special interests in Washington. It lowered tax rates and ignited an economic boom that lasted for 20 years. Working with Newt Gingrich, President Clinton achieved Welfare Reform. These two great Presidents had extensive executive experience, and something else that is critical: leadership. Sadly, Barack Obama---who travels the world bowing to foreign dignitaries and apologizing for America---couldn't lead a fart out of an asshole.

As President Reagan told Jimmy Carter on the campaign trail, there's no "crisis of confidence" or malaise with the people of this great country. There's a crisis of leadership---an incredible shrinking President named Barack Obama.

 

by BJJ Fighter 2010-02-23 11:33AM | 0 recs
And this is why you fail

It lowered tax rates and ignited an economic boom that lasted for 20 years.

A boom that was an entire lie, based on bubbles and speculation. There was no subsatnce to the supposed Regan boom that ultimately ended with the wholesale destruction of the middle class, which is what Republicans wanted all along.

by NoFortunateSon 2010-02-23 01:29PM | 0 recs
Try quantifying things....

You'll have more credibility if you try using some numbers  occasionally, to support your charges that Reagan damaged our economy. I've given you all the key economic metrics for the Reagan years already; the key thing is that Reagan created 17 million new jobs. President Clinton created 22 million new jobs in the 90's; would that have happened if, as you suggest, Reagan had damaged the foundations of our economy?

Barack Obama has lost 4.1 million jobs in his first year in office, and the outlook is not good:

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=artrtGVa__ro

I fear for our economy, our freedoms, and for our great country.

 

by BJJ Fighter 2010-02-23 08:20PM | 0 recs
I'm glad you're afraid

You republicans should be. It means Obama is doing his job. Death to the house of cards that was Reganomics.

You want numbers, BJ? Here are some from the 12th of february this year:

Most Still Blame Bush for the Economy

A New York Times/CBS News poll finds that 31% of Americans said the Bush administration is at fault for the current state of the economy while only 7% blame the Obama administration.

An additional 23% said Wall Street is to blame while 13% blame Congress.


Read more: http://politicalwire.com/archives/2010/02/12/most_still_blame_bush_for_the_economy.html#ixzz0gPxO7K74

People may have been stupid enough to fall for Reganomics in the 80's (your argument that Clinton was the beneficiary of reganomics means Regan was the beneficiary of Carter economics. Is that true?), but they're not falling for it now.

And poor Republicans, by the time people would begin to blame this Administration, the economy will be turning around, and Obama can say that big government works.

by NoFortunateSon 2010-02-23 09:48PM | 0 recs
RE: See Brown

Browns problem is that he was in charge of all the policies when the economy went from Boom to Bust. Not to mention his stimulus was not nearly as a complete or large as Obama's.

 

by vecky 2010-02-18 01:20AM | 0 recs
Obama

as always, Obama generously and unselfconciously casts pearls before ungrateful swine. He's so good at it, one can almost believe he thinks they'll appreciate the value and transform, miraculously, from self-absorbed whiny wallowers into something resembling an informed adult electorate.

I take the simple and pramatic route. If I try to help someone out and they shit on me - they're on their own. I bet if we shit on Obama long enough, we'll eventually convince him we aren't worth the effort. But let's hurry, because we have less than 3 years!

by QTG 2010-02-17 05:30PM | 0 recs
Why are they even talking about the "stimulus"?

One very basic rule in marketing is to reinforce the things that are good and/or going well, i.e., make the big things bigger. And at the same time, don't dwell on the negatives.....just quietly walk away from them.

Obama's new "saved or created" metric for evaluating job growth from the stimulus is a nice try, but the public isn't buying it. A CBS/New York Times poll released last week indicates that only 6% of the public believes that this program has created any jobs. And why should they, when the Labor Department numbers show that we lost over 4 million jobs in 2009. When the President boasts about "saving jobs" against that backdrop, the average American simply concludes that he is disconnected from reality.  

 

by BJJ Fighter 2010-02-17 11:47PM | 0 recs
RE: Why are they even talking about the "stimulus"?

"Investors were focused on the relative speed at which the world's economies were recovering from recession and punishing laggards such as some European economies.

Several Federal Reserve policy makers, confident in a U.S. recovery, want to begin selling securities relatively soon to cut back massive help to the financial system, the central bank said overnight.

The U.S. took a very aggressive response to the crisis (monetary, bank recapitalization, fiscal) and while there are costs to these measures, they will likely result in a faster exit from the recession," Michael Hasenstab, senior vice president and co-director of Franklin Templeton's fixed income group, told Reuters in a chat room interview.

Oops.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20100218/bs_nm/us_markets_global

Tell me again who is one "disconnected from reality"?

by vecky 2010-02-18 01:42AM | 0 recs
RE: Why are they even talking about the "stimulus"?

Sorry "Vecky", you failed again. New jobless claims surged last week:

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Stock-futures-fall-after-jobs-apf-3803927760.html?x=0&sec=topStories&pos=main&asset=&ccode=

Looks like you failed again. But I'll give you this....you're consistent at it.

 

by BJJ Fighter 2010-02-18 09:28AM | 0 recs
RE: Why are they even talking about the "stimulus"?

There really must be something wrong with you mod-cons over in lala land. Let's see, the title of the article you tout is, drum-roll please....

Stronger Manufacturing report lifts stock market

The gain in stocks Thursday came after the Philadelphia Federal Reserve said its index of regional manufacturing rose to 17.6 in February from 15.2 in January. That follows reports the past two days that also pointed to a pickup in business at the nation's factories.

Yup, there was a minor bump in unemployment benefit claims. That stuff always fluctuates and keeps getting adjusted as data comes in. Unemployment can't be addressed without the country returning to producing goods and services. It's a lagging indicator as anyone from the golden "Reagan years" knows...

Next time please don't try and prove my point for me. It's easy enough as it is....

by vecky 2010-02-18 08:21PM | 0 recs
Welcome to the jobless recovery

Yes, a "minor bump" in new unemployment claims....hate to tell you this, "Vecky", but they've risen for 5 out of the last 7 weeks. So much for the Obama claims about all the jobs he's created.

But don't let it get you down.....if you talk to someone who is out of work, just talk to them about the Philadelphia Federal Reserve manufacturing index. I'm sure they'll sleep much easier.

 

by BJJ Fighter 2010-02-18 10:17PM | 0 recs
RE: Welcome to the jobless recovery

I don't let it get me down. The economy is grinding it's way out the greatest recession since WW2. The Fed is raising it's discount rates, the financial system is more stable and manufacturing is picking up. Those are just facts, interpret them how you will but don't ignore them. Unemployment is a lagging indicator (see every single US recession since ww2 for example) and will improve in 3-6 months or less.

I don't see why you rat on the Philly Fed - your elitism and lack of concern for one of the largest economic regions in the nation simply reaffirms your "disconnect from reality". Maybe some more facts will help?

  • The Philadelphia Fed Business Outlook increased from 15.2 to 17.6 in February. The consensus expected the index to increase to 17.0.
  • The index has remained positive for seven consecutive months and signals further growth in manufacturing.
  • The details of the report were strong.
  • Growth spiked in new orders as the index increased from 3.2 to 22.7.  Shipments increased from 11.0 to 19.7.
  • The increase in shipments, however, was mostly due to the filling of old orders as the unfilled orders index declined from 3.6 to -7.5.
  • Inventories posted the first positive month since September 2007. The increase is in-line with the Q4 aggregate manufacturer inventories data.
  • Employment demand also increased as the index rose from 6.1 to 7.4.
All good stuff. If You want to look at other regions you can too. The NY Fed manufacturing Index (released in Jan) showed a good bump too. There are a dozen or so such indexes. The business community though places special value on the Philly and Chicago indexes - evidently they are the equivalent of "swing states" from politics - showing a strong correlation with national economic trends.
by vecky 2010-02-18 10:49PM | 0 recs
Tell me again,...

...this time with a straight face, that the stimulus didn't work?

It really must burn you up to see unemployment slowly dropping and Obama succeeding without that worn out con montra of tax cuts for the wealthy.

And most of the benefits of the stimulus won't be seen until the end of 2010.

by NoFortunateSon 2010-02-22 10:36PM | 0 recs
RE: Tell me again,...

Obama promised Congress that if the stimulus passed, unemployment wouldn't go past 8%. And that it would create 3.5 million new jobs.

Well, guess what, Einstein? Unemployment soared to 10.2%, and now sits at 9.7%. And the economy lost 4.1 million jobs in 2009, Obama's first year in office. Guess he's got to create 7.6 million jobs to get to his goal. Lotsa luck.

But fear not: Obama has promised that he's now going to "pivot to jobs", following up on his stellar success on health care.....gosh, we'll all sleep easier now. But it does make you wonder: if it truly is the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression, why did he wait for a full year to make 'the great pivot", and to make jobs a priority?

 

by BJJ Fighter 2010-02-23 12:37AM | 0 recs
So your point is?

Shorter BJ: Reganism made a bigger mess of the economy than Obama was led to believe before he took office.

You have no defense for the economic policies of Bush and his predecessors that led us here, nor do you have any solutions. You've got some Glenn Dreck talking points thrown in there, but no hard facts. That is why, once again, you will find yourself on the short end of the election outcome.

Come on, what's your solution? More tax cuts for the rich? Sarah Palin? Do you have anything else? Spit it out.

Meanwhile, suck on this.

And this, BJ: Job losses by month:

Aug 2008: -84,000
Sep 2008: -159,000
Oct 2008: -240,000 <---- Market collapse
Nov 2008: -533,000
Dec 2008: -524,000
Jan 2009: -598,000 <---- Obama inaugurated
Feb 2009: -651,000
Mar 2009: -663,000 <---- ARRA (Stimulus) starts
Apr 2009: -539,000
May 2009: -345,000
Jun 2009: -467,000
Jul 2009: -247,000
Aug 2009: -216,000

Even someone like you can catch the trend from there.

Your real enemy (in spinning the stimulus as a failure) is time and the truth. And neither are on your side.

by NoFortunateSon 2010-02-23 12:58AM | 0 recs
RE: So your point is?

If you consider this a sign that Obama-nomics is working, I'd suggest you have very low standards for measuring success.

You're very dense, so I reiterate: Obama promised when selling the stimulus that unemployment wouldn't go past 8%. And here we are today at 9.7%.

That's called over-promising and under-delivering....the opposite of what you want in any business endeavor. But then, this President has never worked in business, so he wouldn't understand that.

And btw, Consumer Confidence numbers out this morning plunged to 46.2; measurements under 50 generally occur when the country is in recession.

 

by BJJ Fighter 2010-02-23 10:59AM | 0 recs
Keep going back to those talking points

Reganomics was just a bigger disaster than Obama was led to believe.

Without the stimulus, unemployment would have peaked at 10.8% instead of 10%. And now we're at 9.7% and falling.

So again, the only point you make is that reganomics failured more miserably than Obama initially believed it would.

So once again, prove to me that the stimulus didn't work.

by NoFortunateSon 2010-02-23 01:35PM | 0 recs
we are in a depression

17% real unemployment, much higher underemployment.  the reason there aren't breadlines is because the us is a slightly richer society than in the 1930s.  just a little

by The Weekly Glass 2010-02-18 02:20PM | 0 recs
RE: we are in a depression

I've seen numbers up into the 20%'s for real unemployment.

But I think you are missing one crucial reason for the lack of bread lines and tent cities in the last year and a half - we have safety nets (thank you FDR!).

Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, unemployment insurance, Food Stamps, General Welfare, state versions of some of those things.

And of course, things like FDIC insurance mean that a lot of people didn't lose all their cash reserves literally overnight when their banks go under.

by jeopardy 2010-02-19 12:29AM | 0 recs
you are absolutely right

Of course there are many factors and the safety net is definitely one of them.  You can also count the huge military budget the size of the rest of the world combined, which is just a code word for subsidy to high tech industry.  Imagine if say Truman had said "Hey Americans, you are going to have to cut back 15% of your spending because we have to give money to GM, Lockheed, Boeing, IBM, Raytheon, RAND, etc." there would be people in the street with pitchforks, so instead he said "The Russians are coming!  The Russians are coming! (The russians who just lost twenty million men and had no gasoline so they had to use horses to drag their artillery out of Europe) we need to out produce them or we will be forced to get up at 5 am and perform abortions all night long under the red flag of the godless communists"  Had market forces been allowed to function, there would be no high tech industry, no car industry, no steel industry and the multiplier would go throughout the economy.  Plus there also wasn't 2 million people in prison back then and all the people that make money off of that.  There also wasn't 3 million people in the military who essentially give economies to whole communities.  You could go on.  

by The Weekly Glass 2010-02-19 04:28PM | 0 recs

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