Who says President Barack Obama is bad for growth? True, U.S. gross domestic product grew 2 percent in the third quarter of 2012. However, comparing data from the time of the president’s January 20, 2009, inauguration with today’s latest figures proves that plenty of things have grown quite robustly during the Obama years.
When Obama took office, for instance, some 43.57 million Americans lived below the poverty line. Today, 46.25 million survive beneath that dismal threshold — up 6.1 percent.
While Americans have struggled to find work in the private sector, Washington has hung out the “now hiring” sign through these sluggish times. The federal civilian work force has grown under Obama, from 1,978,000 to 2,110,000 — up 6.7 percent.
Conversely, on Obama’s watch, the number of working-age Americans (ages 16 and above) who no longer are in the civilian labor force has grown from 80,502,000 to 88,710,000 — up 10.2 percent.
The number of Americans on Social Security Disability Insurance has grown under Obama, from 9.7 million to 10.8 million – up 11.3 percent.
Obamacare, the president promised, would reduce health-insurance costs. After all, this 2,801-page law is known officially as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. And yet, average individual medical premiums rose from $4,824 to $5,615 — up 16.4 percent. Likewise, then-senator Obama promised that his reform proposals would make the typical family’s health-insurance policy go down by $2,500. As Obama declared in his second debate with John McCain in fall 2008: “We’re going to work with your employer to lower the cost of your premiums by up to $2,500 a year.” Instead, according to surveys by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research & Educational Trust, family premiums increased by almost the same amount: $2,370 (from $13,375 to $15,745) — up 17.7 percent.
“The problem is, is that the way Bush has done it over the last eight years is to take out a credit card from the Bank of China in the name of our children,” then-senator Obama complained in 2008. “We now have over $9 trillion of debt that we are going to have to pay back — $30,000 for every man, woman, and child. That’s irresponsible. It’s unpatriotic.” Former president George W. Bush’s alleged lack of patriotism notwithstanding, America’s national debt as a proportion of GDP has expanded under Obama’s watchful eyes, from 74.6 cents on the dollar to 101.8 cents on the dollar — up 36.4 percent.
One of the Great Society’s signature welfare programs has done land-sale business in the last four years. The number of Americans on food stamps has ballooned during Obama’s term in the Oval Office, from 32.9 million people to 46.7 million — up 41.9 percent.
Obama has fired up a Mount Kilauea of red ink. On February 23, 2009, he said, “Today I am pledging to cut the deficit we inherited in half by the end of my first term in office.” Thus, Obama promised to chop that year’s $1.3 trillion deficit to no more than $650 billion. Instead, the deficit stands at $1.1 trillion, a $450 billion overage. Indeed, each of Obama’s four consecutive budget deficits has exceeded $1 trillion. This is a first in U.S. history. In Obama’s first 42 months, his $5.25 trillion in deficits have outpaced the $4.18 trillion total for America’s first 42 presidents combined, from George Washington through George Herbert Walker Bush. Obama’s volcanic outlays were a key reason that the U.S lost its triple-A credit rating, a distinction that’s normally as much of a given as the Constitution and the Statue of Liberty. In these and other ways, Obama’s record-shattering performance on borrowing and spending has elevated America’s national debt from $10.63 trillion (with a t) to $16.2 trillion — up 52.4 percent.
With Obama behind the wheel, regular gasoline has raced from $1.83 per gallon to $3.68, on average — up more than double or 101.1 percent. (Interestingly, that number almost perfectly parallels the advance in gold prices under Obama, from $853.25 per ounce to $1,706 — up 99.9 percent.)
Yes, Virginia, President Obama can point to stunning growth. Unfortunately, as with someone who has an insatiable appetite, Barack Obama’s growth is in all the wrong places.
— New York commentator Deroy Murdock is a Fox News contributor, a nationally syndicated columnist with the Scripps Howard News Service, and a media fellow with the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace at Stanford University.