MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — One year to the day before the 2012 election, President Obama is already being judged on his handling of the economy.
There’s little doubt the President inherited a very bad economy. The political debate is about whether he made it worse.
There is some good news: The gross domestic product contracted by 6.2 percent just before Obama took office. It’s the worst contraction since the Great Depression. Now it’s trending up 2.5 percent higher in the last quarter. The stock market a big success story, and personal income is up from a negative 3 percent to a positive 1.1 percent.
But there’s also plenty of bad news. Housing starts are down significantly: more than 30 percent. Personal bankruptcy is high. In 2008, as the economy nosedived more than a million people declared bankruptcy. In 2010, that number rose to more than 1.5 million.
But the most troubling indicator is jobs. About 4.4 million jobs disappeared in the last three months of the Bush presidency, and 4.3 million more in Obama’s first year.
Bush left office with a 7.3 percent unemployment rate. Under Obama it’s consistently above 9 percent, and it was 9.1 percent last month.
Economists argue a president has limited effect on the economy. But in politics, the blame or credit goes directly to the Oval Office. That’s the reality check.
The sources used for this Reality Check are in links below.
Gross Domestic Product
Economy Contracted Severely In 2008
Job Losses: Bush Compared To Obama
September 2011 Unemployment
Stock Market Averages 2008-2011