Speaking to supporters in Oakland, CA, President Obama declared that his economic policies are already proven successes.
“We tried that and it didn’t work,” Obama said of Mitt Romney’s proposed tax cuts and spending cuts, which he dismissed as a Bush-style “top down” economic policy. “Just like we’ve tried their plan, we tried our plan — and it worked,” he added later in the speech. “That’s the difference. That’s the choice in this election. That’s why I’m running for a second term.”
The president mentioned the auto bailouts, and it’s reasonable to conclude that he is also discussing the two signature pieces of legislation he has signed into law, the 2009 stimulus and ObamaCare. Both were sold as plans to remedy the ailing economy. Obama also sought to convert the US energy economy from fossil fuels to “green” technology, with a promise of job creation to go along with that.
The administration promised that the stimulus would knock unemployment down to about 5.5% by now. It has not even come close to that mark.
The graph is a little dated. Gallup says unemployment remains above 8 percent, with “declines” largely attributable to unemployed giving up on finding work.
Obama sold ObamaCare as a cost-saving measure both for the nation and individuals. The price tag for ObamaCare has gone up in the two years since the Democrats passed and Obama signed it into law (current price of the “cost saver” is $1.76 trillion), and insurance premiums have continued to go up, especially for younger workers. Business leaders also report reluctance to bring on new hires out of fear that ObamaCare increases their per-worker benefit liabilities.
By no reasonable standard can either the stimulus or ObamaCare be described as having worked, using the criteria by which the Democrats sold both plans. The stimulus did not reduce unemployment anywhere near the rate promised, and ObamaCare has not brought costs down. Both can reasonably be said to have made matters worse: The stimulus will eventually have to paid for through higher taxes and ObamaCare is squelching new hiring.
The Obama command shift to “green” technology has mostly resulted in expensive, high profile bankruptcies: Solyndra, Ener1, and so forth.
As for the auto bailouts, the American taxpayer is still out billions of dollars and according to Conn Carroll, the bailouts were about $50 billion more expensive than they had to be. The unions, though, picked up an ownership stake in Chrysler and became one of GM’s largest shareholders, and are doing fine. Obama’s former auto bailout czar reportedly said that the bailouts were entire done to benefit the unions. So perhaps that part of his plan can fairly be said to have worked.
What we have, after three years of Obama’s plans being put into force, are the following: High unemployment and fear of new hiring, exploding national deficits at $1 trillion over the past five years, sharp increases in the number of Americans on disability and on welfare (and a government openly advertising to get more people on welfare), and an economy that even Obama’s own treasury secretary acknowledges is not growing fast enough.