On the Economy Give Obama a D
Hillary Rodham Clinton got the laugh line of the week when she said that President Obama deserves “an A” for his economic performance. Oh, wait. She wasn’t joking.
Talk about grade inflation. Not many Americans agree with Hillary’s charitable assessment. We just had a report of 1.5 percent growth in the last quarter. Every poll for five years shows that voters are most concerned about jobs, falling incomes, and the debt. (Climate change always ranks last or near last, by the way.) Anywhere between 40 and 70 percent of Americans, depending on the poll, say that the United States is still in a recession six and a half years into the Obama presidency.
To be sure, there have been some successes. We finally got a good jobs report on Friday and job growth has been steady — but slow. Inflation is tame. And most impressive: the stock market has been on a tear since Obama entered office.
But the areas where things have gone off the tracks far outweigh the good news. So here’s a real report card on the Obama economy:
1) Economic growth: Anemic.
This recovery is a bust. The growth rate of 2 percent under Mr. Obama’s recovery compares to nearly 4 percent for Reagan and 3.5 percent for a normal recovery. This means we have $2 trillion less GDP today than we would if Obama’s performance had been average — i.e. a C grade — and $3 trillion behind the Reagan recovery — an A grade. If Mr. Obama had done as well as Mr. Reagan, we would have $24,000 higher annual output per household this year.
2) College and Health Costs: Skyrocketing
Mr. Obama promised to lower health costs by $2,500 per family. Oops. This year we have learned that many states are reporting insurance premium increases of 10, 20, and even 30 percent. Over the past decade, medical costs are up significantly.
University tuition costs are also surging despite Obama campaign pledges to make college more affordable. Compared to the 2008-2009 school year, tuition and fees at public 4-year colleges in 2014-2015 increased by about 37 percent. Meanwhile, tuition and fees at 4-year private nonprofit universities increased by about 26 percent to $31,000 a year. The more Mr. Obama throws at higher education, the more they raise their costs.